The History of Middlesex County 1635-1885
J. H. Beers & Co., 36 Vesey Street, New York
[transcribed by Janece Streig]
TOWN AND CITY OF MIDDLETOWN.
BY HENRY WHITTEMORE.
CHURCHES OF MIDDLETOWN.
FIRST CONGREGATIONAL CHURCH OF MIDDLETOWN.
The first public religious services in Middletown were said to have been held under a large elm tree, near the entrance of the old grave yard, and it is probably that, prior to the erection of the first meeting house, the people worshipped in private houses. The following is a copy of the first vote of the town, of which any record exist:
"Feberary the 10th 1652. It was agreed at a meeting at John HALLS hous to build a meeting hous and to make it twenty fot square and ten fot between till and plat, the heygt of it."
This house, which was soon built, stood in the middle of Main street, near its northern end, and was surrounded by palisades; a protection against the savages which was then considered necessary.
The exact time when the organization of a religious society was effected cannot be definitely ascertained; but it was probably soon after the first settlers came, for church membership was then a necessary qualification for citizenship, and town privileges were granted to the people here in 1651.
Not long after the commencement of the settlement, Rev. Samuel STOW, a graduate of Cambridge College, was employed as a candidate for the ministry. The following extract shows that, for a time, his ministrations had been acceptable:
"A vote of ye towne 20 of August 1657, whether it be the mind of ye towne to continue mr. STOW amongst us lookinge at him as in convenient time to call him to office. God in his providence make way thereunto. It was concluded by ye towne that he should continue among us for that end according to ye vote above written."
Dissatisfaction, however, appears to have arisen, for on the 3d of February 1668:
"It was agreed in a town meeting that ye towne should appoint a towne meeting wherein (some able helpe being agreed upon and attained) mens reasons shall be given for and against mr. STOW's continuation and they are willing to act as ye rule shall appear.
"November 27, 1658. It is agreed at a towne meeting that wee should seeke out for help in the ministry."
The following action was taken the next year:
"At a towne meeting Octr the fift, 1769. the inhabitants of Middletowne being met together did manifest by a vot that they did not desire Mr. STOW's continuance amongst us, in thee work of the ministry with reference to calling him to office. At the same town meeting Willyam HARRES and Robeart WARNER wear chosen by the towne to treate with master BOWERS of new haven consarning his affording hellp to uss in the ministry."
The General Court took action in the matter in 1660, as these records of their proceedings show. The following is a record of the proceedings, March 14th 1660:
"This Court having heard and considered the difference twixt ye Towne of Middle Towne and Mr. STOW and their allegations and answers, doe judg and determine that ye people of Middle Towne are free from Mr. STOW as their engaged minister. That the people of Middle Town shall give to Mr. STOW Lrs Testimonial according as was drawn up is not infringed of his liberty to preach in Middle Towne to such as will attend him until there be a settled ministry there.
"It is ordered by this Court that ye people of Middle Towne shall pay vnto Mr. STOW for his labour in ye ministry the year past *401, wch is to be paid him by the 10th of April next." *About $133.00.
On the 4th of October 1660, the General Court took final action relative to the dismissal of Mr. STOW, as appears by the record:
"It is ordered by ye Court respecting Mr. STOW of Middle Towne, there appearing such vnsutableness in their spirits that Middle Towne shal have a free liberty to provide for themselves another able, orthodox and pious minister as soon as they can who is to be approved by Mr. WARHAM, Mr. STONE, Mr. WHITING takeing in ye help of ye Wor'll Gournr and Mr. WILLIS w'ch being done Mr. STOW is to lay down his preaching there, and said Town giueing Mr. STOW Testimonial Lrs such as the Gent fornenamed judge fit. In ye meantime the Town to allow Mr. STOW his vsual stipend he continuing the exercise of his ministery as formerly."
Mr. STOW relinquished the ministerial office, and resided in the town as a private citizen. Under the date of May 25th 1661, appears this record:
"Whereas upon divers agitations before ye Generll Court between mr. STOWE and ye inhabitants of Middletowne the court did declare that ye towne of Middletowne are free from Mr. STOW as their engaged minister & ye Court appointing a Comitee to further a settled ministrie in that place & after long endeavorers by ye people there to procure them a minister, there appears a probability of their obtaining of Mr. COLLINS for that purpose. The Comittee doth approove of their proceedings therein, &c., of his acceptance of their motion, & according to ye minds of the court doe advise both Mr. STOW & all the in habitants of Midletown to a loving X carriage to Mr. COLLINS & friendly compliance with each other, that ye memory of all former differences may be wholly buryed & that Mr. COLLINS may have all due encouragement in ye worke of the ministry, that he is called unto in that place, & yt ye long desired comfortable & peaceable setlement of Midletown may be obtained, wch is the desire of the Comittee appointed by the Genll Court to promote the setlemt of the ministry there Hartford December 6th 1661.
"In ye name of ye Comittee, 4th of November 1662. At the sam town meeting the town did agre that the hows for mr. COLLINS should be 38 foot long 18 foot wid, ten foot hy betwean joints and stone chimneys in the middell, with silleradg by leantowing or otherwise as may be most convenient."
Afterward, in the same year, this record was made:
"At a towne meeting September the ninteene, 1661, the inhabytans of Midlletowne manifested by a voet there desyers of mr. COLINS coming amoingst them to cary one in the work of the ministry, uppon try all.
"At the same meeting it was voeated that the inhabytances of Midlletown manifested thears willingness to allowe mr. COLLINS five and forty pownds starleing a years, hise wages beginning at the time when hee shall come amongst theme, to carry one the work of the ministry, for a settelled tryall and acording to that proportyone for what pains he shall tacke amongst theme, between this and this spring."
The following records show the action of the town concerning the permanent settlement of Mr. COLLINS over this church:
"Mr. Nathanill COLLINS. Sir. You may be pleased to Remember wee wrote to you, a few linnes bearing date the 11th of December '63, wherein we gave you an invitation unanimusly under our hands to the worke of the minestry amongst us, in order to father and more sollem ingagements, when god in his providenc shall make way theirto, the Acceptance whereof you have hitherto manifested by your long continuation amonge us, in that worke, our present state you now know, namly that God in his providenc hath brought us hopefully nevere gathering into an ekelyasticall body, then formerly though some of our neighboures and brethren are wee would hope conscienciusly differeing from us, respecting the maner of it, namly as you know some judging we are a church allredy, others that wee are not, however, wee that thinke wee are allredy a church and we also that thinke we are not but in some short time may be one both sencablle of the essentiall need of an officer to despence the sealles as well as the word amongst us. To such us shall be regularly fitt. Doe therefore by these presenc give you to know that our eyes are upon and our desires towards yourself for that worke as son as we shall be in such a capesety and request your answer to this our motion as god shall direct and incline so desiring god to guide you in this great motion we rest waiting your answer your loving frinds and neighbours, the inhabitants of
"December 11.---65. the towne being met together did fully declare this above written to be their mind concerning mr. COLLINSIS being called to offis."
All doubts concerning the status of the society as an ecclesiastical body were finally set at rest, for on the 4th of November 1668 the first Congregational Church at Middletown was formed, and Rev. Nathaniel COLLINS, a son of Deacon COLLINS of Cambridge and a graduate of Harvard college, was ordained as the first pastor, and by approval of the General court he became the "settled minister of the town." His labors were abundantly blessed, and the church and people were united and happy under his ministrations which continued for sixteen years. At the end of that period his relations with the church were severed by his death which occurred in 1684. His death was deeply lamented by the whole community, and Cotton MATHER said of him: "More wounds were given by his death to the whole colony of Connecticut than the body of Caesar did receive when he fell wounded in the senate house-that the church of Middletown, upon the Connecticut River, was the golden candlestick from whence this excellent person illuminated more than the whole colony; and that all the qualities of most exemplary piety, extraordinary ingenuity, obliging affability, joined with the accomplishments of an extraordinary preacher, did render him truly excellent." During his pastorate seventy-six persons were admitted to the church.
"At a towne meeting in Midletowne Febuary 8th 1685-6, the towne by a unanimous voate declare that they did desire Mr. William DENESON to continue with them for farther tryall in the worke of the ministry in order to settelling amongst them."
"August 11, 1686. The inhabitants of Midletowne being meet together did by a unanimous voat shew theire desire of Mr. Noadiah RUSSELL for the work of the minestry among them on tryall in order to settling amongst them in that work of the ministry."
Mr. RUSSELL was, on the 24th of October 1688, ordained as the second pastor of this church. He was a native of New Haven, and a graduate of Harvard College. During his pastorate of twenty-five years, 180 person were admitted to the church. He was greatly beloved by his people, and continued his connection with the church until his death, which occurred in 1713. He was one of the founders and trustees of Yale College, and one of the framers of the "Saybrook Platform."
He was succeeded by his son William, a graduate of Yale college, June 1st 1715. The latter continued his pastorate for forty-six years, and during that period 305 persons were admitted to the church. He died at the age of 70 on the anniversary of his ordination.
The fourth pastor was Rev. Enoch HUNTINGTON, a native of Windham, who graduated at Yale College in 1759. His ordination as pastor took place January 6th 1762. He had a find voice, and was an eloquent preacher; but on one occasion, while suffering from a severe cold he attempted to speak, which so injured his voice that he ever afterward spoke with a great effort, and at times he could scarcely be heard. He continued his labors, however, for forty-seven years, and endeared himself to his people. Three hundred and forty-six persons were added to the church during his ministry. He resigned his pastorate shortly before his death, which occurred in 1809.
The Rev. Daniel HUNTINGTON, a native of Lebanon, who had been previously settled in Litchfield, was installed as the fifth pastor of this church, September 10th 1809, and dismissed at his own request, February 6th 1816. During this period of seven years 98 persons were admitted to the church.
In July of the same year, Rev. Chauncey A. GOODRICH was ordained, being the sixth pastor of the church. He was dismissed, December 1817, in consequence of ill health.
Rev. John R. CRANE, a native of Newark, M. J., and a graduate of Princeton College, was the seventh pastor of the church. He was ordained November 4th 1818, and remained thirty-five years, dying in office August 17th 1853. During his pastorate 539 persons were added to the church.
He was succeeded by his eldest son, Rev. James B. CRANE, the eighth pastor, who remained but 2 years, resigning on account of ill health.
Rev. Jeremiah TAYLOR, the ninth pastor, a graduate of Amherst College, remained for twelve years, and was dismissed at his own request in the autumn of 1868, his pastorate closing with the two hundredth years of the church.
Rev. Azel W. HAZEN, the tenth pastor of the church, entered upon his labors on the 10th of March 1869, commencing in the 201st year of the church's history. Up to the present time 390 persons have been added to the church, making a total of 2378 since its organization. During this period there have been 37 deacons, commencing with 1670 and ending with 1879, as follows: Thomas ALLEN, Samuel STOCKING, and John HALL jr. chosen 1670; Daniel MARKHAM, 1690; William SUMNER, 1695; Obadiah ALLEN and Joseph ROCKWELL, 1704; Boriah WETMORE, 1713; Solomon ATKINS, 1735; John HUBBARD, 1743; Jonathan ALLEN, 1743; William ROCKWELL, 1749; Jabez HAMLIN, 1754; Joseph CLARK, 1765; John Earl HUBBARD, 1765; Chauncey WHITTLESEY, 1778; Jacob WETMORE, 1782; Oliver WETMORE, 1784; Timothy BOARDMAN, 1784; Matthew T. RUSSELL, 1798; Thomas HUBBARD, Joseph BOARDMAN, and Samuel EELS 2d, 1812; Henry S. WARD and Richard RAND, 1828; Cyprian GALPIN, 1840; John B. WOODFORD and Evan DAVIS, 1844; John H. SUMNER, 1846; Robert P. RAND, 1850; Selah GOODRICH, 1850; Henry E. SAWYER, 1869; Charles A. BOARDMAN, 1870; Ralph J. MINER, 1873; Edwin P. AUGUR, 1875; Lucius r. HAZEN, 1877; Frederic L. GLEASON, 1879.
The Sunday school of this church was organized in 1820. The present officers are: E. A. GLADWIN, Miss Carrie T. E. SILL, superintendents; J. W. BAILEY, clerk; and C. A. BOARDMAN, treasurer.
"At a towne meeting March 19th 1665, or 66, it was voated that thair shall be a gallery in the meeting hous, from the east end to the middle beame, and that the town men shall have power to order the worke and to get it don."
"At a towne meeting desember 17th 66, wharas mr. HAMLINE this day gave a drum to the towne and train band. The towne voated to slowe Goodman HUBERT fourtie shillings for sweeping the meeting hous and keeping the glas and for his son Jospehes beating the drum for all common meeting both on saboth days and all other meeting and to be beaten twis on fornouns and twis in afternoons on Saboth days and thanksgiving days and fast days, to be beaten from the meating hous to against mr. STOW's to begine first with a preporatine and after a calle, this is for the year insuing, but the drum for futer to be beaten after the sam maner."
"November 11, 1669. The towne by a vooat agreed to build a new meeting hous of thirtie two foote square & fifteen foote between joints, at the same meeting made choice of John HALLE junior to be master workman for the building of this hous."
This house was completed in 1670. Some differences of opinion as to the proper site for it arose between the people of the Lower and Upper Houses, but a compromise was effected, as appears by the following extract from the town records.
"Middletowne 19th of the 2nd 1670.
"This witnesseth an agreement between the inhabitants off Midletownie on each side of the rivulet relateing to ye placing of their present now meeting house, that they have mutually condescended for peach sake namely the inhabitants of the north side being present and the committee chosen by the south side and impowered to act in their behalf. They have jointly agreed to set the meeting house in the midst of the highway neer against the corners of George HUBARD & Thomas WETMER [on the east side] Robert WARNER & Thomas WATTS [on the west side} theyre lotts and inasmuch as the highway is too straight on each side ye proprietoures Thomas WATTS excepted whoe was not prsnt have granted to allow half a rod of each side, that is to say Thomas WETMER half a rod at ye north corner from thence to hould as wide as the p'es't apple trees will allow the fence to stand nigh to them a rod in length at ye south corner to come of to nothing.
"George HUBARD half a rod wide three rod in length against ye body of ye meeting house from thence to come out into an angle thre or four rod further.
"Robert WARNERS to begin at Thomas WATTS, his divideing lyne (now in the use of Jasper CLEMENTS) half a rod in width to come out at nothing at ye north end twelve rod in length.
"The inhabitants jointly (ye proprieters of ye foresaid land excepted) removing the fence belonging to the forementioned land and setting it in as good state as it is at present. This alteration during ye time of ye duration of this present meeting house, when that is altered then the land to return to ye proprietors again.
"To the truth of ye present above mentioned agreement we under written do witness by subscribing our ahnds the day and yeer above written and yt after interlining.
In presence of us
George HUBERT S'r by X marke
For themselves & theirs in reference to the land
Ye committee chosen by and impoured to act in ye behalf of ye inhabitants of ye south side of ye little river.
At ye desire & with ye consent of ye north side.
This house stood on the east side but within the limits of Main street, about opposite what is now Liberty street. Tradition says that it was like its predecessor, a log structure; and that it was, at first if not afterward, surrounded by palisades.
The following extracts from the town records, relating to the maintenance of proper decorum in meeting, and to the formation of other societies from this parish are given to their chronological order:
"Desember 29, 1685. At the same time the towne made choyc of Josiah ADKINS to loookeafter the boys below in the meeting hous, to keep them from playing or disorder in the meetin time on the Saboth in the time of exercise and John BLAKE & John WETMOR ware chosen for the like service in the gallery.
"January 18, 1702-3. At the same meting it was proposed by the inhabitants on the north side the rivelet for a liberty to provide a minister and a meeting house separate from this side and maintain it upon there one charg, which proposition was granted on these conditions, that they do in halfe a yeare or one whole yeare at farthest procuer and settle an orthadox & approved minister orderly amongst them that being accomplished then to be free from the charg of the ministry on this side the rivelet, they paying equally with us here til that be accomplished, but if this be not accomplished within said time, all the above is to be null and voyd.
"Desember 28, 1708. the town also past a voat that no inhabitant should interrupt the meeting by disorderly speaking without liberty from the moderator, upon the penalty of six pence pr time.
"March 22, 1708-9. At the same meeting the town granted to Mr. David DEMING twenty acres of land on the north side the riverlet in one or two placis if it may be found thear & not predaguissing any highways nor outlets, provided he setteleth and continueth in the work of the ministry there, then it shall be his own land.
"Leut. John SAVIG, Sargt. Daniell WHITE & John WARNER junior ware chosen a comitty to see after and lay it out upon his charg if it may be found.
"Whereas at a town meeting March 22th 1708-9, the town by a voate granted to Mr. David DEMING about twenty acres of land, provided he settled there with our neighbours on the north side the riverett in the work of the ministry, buyt m. DEMING failing, by the request of the neighbours on the north side the riverett att this town meeting January 13th 1712-13, the town by voate grant the same priviledge or quantity of land to m. Joseph SMITH upon the same tearms provided he settle there in the work of the ministry and do impower the same comtte. Formerly chosen to lay it out on the same tearmes as before specified.
"Att a town meeting in Middletown May 11th 1714 then the petition to be preferred to the General Assembly by the inhabitants on the east side the great river belonging to sd. Town, was read in the meeting in presence of the inhabitants of sd. Town then mett. Att the same meeting the town by voat do appoint & impower the representatives belonging to sd. Town, to attend the General Assembly in May 13th 1714, to answer sd. Petition and to defend the town's privileges before the General Assembly if it be prosceded upon by the petitioners, if it be the mind of the town to grant the neighbours on the east side the great river, to be a sosiaty of themselves and have liberty to call & settle a minister amongst themselves, provided they can be thought fitt & able by the honble general assembly to carry on such a work, and to do it with only there one estate and pay there proportion to the ministry on the west side the great river until they have an orthodox minister settled orderly among themselves. This was voated, in the affermitive by considerable majority, and at the same time the neighbours on the east side declared they would withdraw there petition that they designed to prefer to the next assembly.
The third meeting house was built in 1715. Field says:
"when the subject of erecting the third house was agitated, it is said that different divisions of the inhabitants contended for its location on the east, north, and west corners of the great square, lying between Main and High streets; that it was agreed to have the point decided by lot; but as there were four corners to the square, it was suggested it would be well to draw for them all. This was done, and the south corner was taken, where none wished the house to be erected. But as the lot was considered as expressing the divine will, the people went forward and built there."
The following extract from the record of the proceedings of the General Court seems to indicate that if the location was determined by lot an authoritative sanction was required to satisfy all parties.
"This Assembly appoint Joseph TALCOTT, Esq'r, Mr. John HOOKER and Mr. James WADSWORTH, a committee to endeavour to promote a good agreement in the south society in Midletown about the place for setline their meeting house; and in case such endeavours prove unsuccessful to that end, to state the place themselves according to their wisdom and discretion, at the charge of the said society.
"Upon the report made to this Assembly my Major Joseph TALCOTT, Capt. John HOOKER, Capt. James WADSWORTH, committee appointed by this Assembly in May, 1714, to consider of and endeavour to compromise a difference among the inhabitants of the South Society in Midletown, referring to the place of erecting their new meeting house, being all upon the spot the first day of June anno Dom. 1714, and after using all their endeavours for an amicable agreement between the inhabitants of said society and could not bring the people then to that desired issue; and that the above-named committee declare they think the place where the said new meeting house is erected in said society is the most accomodable and most ruleable place that can be found for them under their circumstances: This court well approves of their report and therefore do order and enact and it is hereby ordered and enacted, that all persons belonging to said society shall contribute and pay toward the building and finishing the said new meeting house lately erected for the use of the said society, according to their proportions in the publick list; and that all the inhabitants of said society do attend the publick worship of God in the said new meeting house, when it is made comfortable for their reception, and pay all dues and duties as above, till orderly dismissed thereform."
The house was sixty by forty feet in size, and in 1740 it was enlarged by the additon of eighteen feet to its width.
A bell was procured, as is elsewhere shown, and it appears from the following record that the meeting house had no tower in which to hang it:
"December 23, 1745.-Voted & granted that the subscribers for making a building to hand the meeting house bell in, have liberty to erect the same in the high way either near the dwelling house of Capt. George PHILLIPS or the dwelling house of Allin WARD."
The fourth church building was 68 by 51 feet in size, and was erected in 1799. It stood on the present side of the Bank Block. It was removed to near the head of Main street and converted into a hall.
The fifth was built in 1873. It covers an area of 35 by 80 feet, and its cost was between $90,000 and $100,000. The front and tower are of brown stone, and the body of the building is of brick. It stands on court street, a short distance from Main.
SOUTH CONGREGATIONAL CHURCH.
Rev. Charles J. HILL, in an historical sketch of this church, delivered July 9th 1876, says:
"A hundred and forty years ago the Congregational was the established church of Connecticut, and, like all churches that depend upon State alliance for authority, power, influence, and support, it became cold, formal, and arrogant,--a State Church without much real religion. It had no Sabbath-school, no prayer meeting, and allowed no lay-man to exhort or teach. To accommodate those who did not wish to become members of the church, and yet desired to have their children baptized, it adopted what was in derision called the "half-way covenant," which allowed them to secure the baptism of their children without assuming the obligations of church membership."
The church as in the condition of church at Laodicea, to which John was commanded to write: "Because thou art lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I am about to vomit thee out of my mouth."
In 1741, all New England was electrified by the preaching of EDWARDS and WHITFIELD, and a great revival was the result. WHITFIELD came to Middletown, and on the south Green preached to an assembly of over 4,000 people. The effect was immediately felt in all the churches. A young man who had been converted commenced exhorting others, and holding prayer meetings. This was contrary to the tenets of the Congregational Church, and the deacons and elders commanded him to desist; but he was in a condition of mind that if he were to hold his peace, the very stones would cry out. The officers of the church, failing in their efforts to suppress him, bound him out to a neighboring farmer, to whom they gave instructions not to permit the young man to hold any prayer meeting or exhort people. The farmer sent him to work in the field, but the young man refused, saying that he did not owe him anything, and would not work. The farmer was finally obliged to let him go. This system of persecution led to dissensions in the First Congregational Church, and several of the members commenced holding prayer meetings at private houses. They finally separated from the old and organized a new church. They were called "Separatists," or "Strict Congregationalists." Their numbers continued to increase, and on the 28th of October 1747, Rev. Ebenezer FROTHINGHAM, who had been pastor of the Strict Congregational Church at Wethersfield for several years, ceased his labors there and was formally ordained as pastor of this church. In 1767, Mr. FROTHINGHAM published a defense of the principles of the Separatists, in which he declared:
"The main thing I have in view through the whole of this book is free liberty of conscience, the right of thinking, choosing, and acting for one's self in matters of religion, which respect God and conscience, and to contend earnestly for this important privilege, neither I nor any other person should be ashamed to do, cost what it will."
For a number of years the church had no meeting house, but held their services at the residence of their pastor, in the house still standing on the north side of Mill street, next to the corner of South Main, which went by the name of the "Separate Meeting House."
Under the ministrations of Mr. FROTHINGHAM, the church grew and prospered, and in 1774 a house of worship was erected on the east side of Main street near the south corner of Mill street. This building is still standing. Here, for fourteen years, Mr. FROTHINGHAM preached earnest, bold, and strong sermons, the result of which was evidenced by the fact that eighty persons signed the following agreement:
"We, the subscribers of the second Strict Congregational Church and Society in this town, believing it to be our duty to attend the public worship of God and support a gospel minister, do agree according to our several abilities, to raise such supplies as shall be necessary to render the life of a minister comfortable, in order for his usefulness among us, and that we will attend a society meting, annually, on the last Monday in September, in order for raising such supplies as shall be necessary for the comfortable support of a gospel minister. And we further agree that we will be accountable to this church and Society for any neglect of fulfilling this, our agreement; provided always that no force of civil law is to be used in collecting support for the gospel ministry among us."
In those days $450 was considered a comfortable support, and it is stated, that all the land on the south side of the highway from Mill street to Pameacha, was deeded by the town to the Strict Congregational Society.
In 1788, after a pastorate of 41 years, Mr. FROTHINGHAM, at the age of 71, resigned his charge to other hands, though he remained in Middletown until his death, which occurred ten years later. Following his resignation the church voted to call Rev. Stephen PARSONS, who after a pastorate of seven years, publicly announced that he had embraced the opinions of the Baptists. In august 1795, he was dismissed. In 1797, Rev. David HUNTINGTON was called to the pastorate of the church, and continued for three years. Rev. Benjamin GRAVES was the next pastor, who continued for eight years, from 1804 to 1812. The financial distress of the country, brought about by the war of 1812, had its effects on this church, causing dissensions which resulted in the removal of Mr. GRAVES. The church as left without a pastor for four years, but in August 1816, Rev. Ahab JINKS was settled, receiving a salary of $450, together with the use of the parsonage, which was valued at $2,700. Under his administration 84 persons were added to the church. About this time, Mr. Elisha SEARS organized a Sabbath-school, of which he was superintendent. This was one of the first Sabbath-schools in the country. Mr. JINKS remained as the pastor of the church for three years, at the end of which time he was dismissed at his own request, and went west as a missionary.
In 1822, Rev. Thomas DE VERELL became pastor, but remained only one year. In 1827, Rev. Edward R. TYLER, commenced his labors with this church, and continued his pastorate until 1832. During this period the ladies organized a Union Benevolent Society, which proved of great assistance in bearing the financial burdens of the church. A Home Missionary Society, which has ever since been an efficient and faithful auxiliary to the church, was also organized. Under the influence of Mr. TYLER the Sabbath-school was reorganized in 1828, and grew in numbers and strength. During his ministry 168 united with the church. In 1832 he was compelled, in consequence of failing health, to resign. Rev. William BEECHER, the son of Dr. Lyman BEECHER, was installed as pastor in March 1833, but continued only six months. In 1835, Rev. Robert MCEWEN accepted a call as pastor, and labored with the church for three years during which period 62 were admitted to membership. His resignation was accepted with many regrets. From 1839 to 1844, Rev. Mr. GRANGER was pastor of the church, and 173 members were added during that time. From 1844 to 1849, Rev. Andrew L. STONE was pastor and 82 were added to the church. Rev. John L. DUDLEY was called by the church in 1849, and remained for nineteen years. He was succeeded, in 1868, by Rev. John P. TAYLOR, who remained until 1874, and was succeeded by Rev. Charles J. HILL, who came November 27th 1875, and as dismissed May 23d 1883. Rev. Peter M. SNYDER, the present pastor of the church, commenced his labors January 3d 1884.
The present officers of the church are as follows: deacons, Benjamin DOUGLAS, William M. DEAN, Chester KELSEY, Levi S. DEMING; clerk, Eugene CULVER; treasurer, Deacon Benjamin DOUGLAS.
"Middletown, January 13th 1772.
"On the Memorial of Daniel WHITMORE and other, commonly called Seperates, praying for liberty to erect a meeting house for divine worship on the highway, it is now Voted and granted that they have liberty to erect said house in the highway, between Capt. John LOVELAND's house and the house of Mr. Robert HUBBARD of the dimentions of fifty foots long, and forty foots wide; the house to be built in the middle of the street and to face the east, and so situate as that one half of said house shall be due east of said HUBBARD's land and the other half due east of said LOVELAND's land. Voted in the affirmative by majority."
The second church building was erected on the site of the present church, corner of Main and Crescent streets. It was a plastered building, similar in appearance to the present court house. In 1867, the second house of worship was demolished and the present structure erected in its place. It is of brick, and its cost was $80,000.
An elegant parsonage has recently been donated to the society by Miss Emily WILLIAMS. It is located on Crescent street, near the church.
SABBATH SCHOOL. -The records of this school contain the history of the "first beginnings" of Sabbath school work in Middletown.
In 1820 or 1821 Mr. David SLY came to the town and started a Sunday school, composed of such children as could be induced to come into it from the various churches, and also such as were not in any of the churches or congregations. This was called the Middletown Sabbath School Union, No. 1. Its sessions were held in the old district school house, which stood on the west end of what is now "Union Park."
The South Congregational Church was the first to appreciate the importance of denominational efforts in this direction, and of making it an auxiliary to the church, and, on the 1st of January 1828, the teachers in the "Union School," belonging to the South Congregational Church, withdrew and organized a school of their own. On the 19th of January, the pastor, Rev. Edward R. TYLER, and Mr. Josiah DANFORTH, were appointed a committee for purchasing books for a library, and on the 10th of February the school received its first installment of 102 volumes.
As appears by the records, this was the "pioneer school" of the county, for on the 14th of April following its organization a meeting of the officers and teachers was held, when it was voted "to form a county union so as to increase the influence of Sabbath schools within the county of Middlesex, and for the increase of Sunday schools within its limits, to form a depository for supplying the schools with suitable books on lowest terms, to stimulate and encourage each other in the instruction of children, and carrying into full effect the glorious system of the Sabbath school cause in the neighboring parishes."
Thirty-four teachers volunteered their services at the organization of the school in January 1828, viz: Edwin LEWIS, Josiah DANFORTH, Herbert ROGERS, Joseph SUMNER, Samuel W. GRISWOLD, Richard CORNWELL, Timothy BOARDMAN, Charles SCOVIL, Samuel GREEN, Frederic TREADWAY, William EELS, Alfred WOOD, Martin R. GRISWOLD, George WOOD, Charles BOARDMAN, Mrs. Mary HALL, Mrs. Mary SAVAGE, Mrs. Maria SOUTHMAYD, Mrs. Maria BEECHER, Mrs. Mary BOARDMAN, Mrs. Esther BIDWELL, Mrs. Emeline J. NEWTON, Mrs. Agnes HAMMOND, Miss Hannah SOUTHMAYD, Miss Mary Ann SCOVIL, Miss Sarah Ann BOARDMAN, Miss Hannah HUNT, Miss Julia STOCKING, Miss R. S. LADD, Miss Nancy A. LADD, Miss Almira S. NASH, Miss Emeline BELDEN.
Weekly teachers' meetings were first established by vote of a meeting of officers and teachers, held October 8th 1833. The following persons have served a superintendents of this school since its organization, viz: Edwin HUNT, Morris BAILEY, Josiah DANFORTH, William WOODWARD, Benjamin W. TOMPKINS, Frederic TREADWAY, Samuel W. GRISWOLD, Charles W. NEWTON, Benjamin DOUGLAS, Caleb F. GATES, M. B. COPELAND, John N. CAMP, Elnathan B. FRISBIE, George S. DEMING, John N. CAMP.
THE CRIMSON ROLL OF HONOR. - When the tocsin of war sounded the call "to arms," to defend the imperiled nation, the young "soldiers of the cross" in this school were among the first to enlist. Among them were: John C. BROATCH (at present commander of Mansfield Post, G. A. R.), Dwight WOLCOTT, William Wallace MILLER, James INGLIS, David WILSON, Gardener SMITH, Edmund SMITH, Henry FRISBIE, Albert r. CRITTENDEN, and Hibbert P. SMITH.
Dwight WOLCOTT, member of Company B., 14th Regiment, Conn. Volunteers, fell in battle at Fredericksburg in 1862, and was buried in the trenches with the "unknown" dead.
William Wallace MILLER, member of Company B., 14th Regiment, Conn. Volunteers, was killed while on picket duty at Deep Bottom, Va., August 15th 1864. His remains rest in the Mortimer Cemetery, marked by an appropriate monument.
HISTORY OF THE CHURCH AND PARISH OF HOLY TRINITY, MIDDLETOWN.
As to the precise time when services were first held in this parish, according to the ritual of the Church of England, there is some obscurity. The Rev. James WETMORE, a native of this town and a grandson of the first preacher* (*The Rev. Samuel STOWE.) of righteousness therein, graduated at Yale College in the class with Dr. JOHNSON of Stratford, and was his intimate friend. Becoming dissatisfied with the authority under which he was preaching, he declared for Episcopacy with President CUTLER and Dr. JOHNSON. He joined them in London early in 1723, and, having received holy orders, returned with them, being assigned by the "society for the Propagation of the Gospel," as assistant to Trinity Church, New York city, and in June 1725, as rector of the parish at Rye, Westchester county, in that State. In his report to the venerable society, he writes from there, on the 3d of October 1745, in this language: † († BEARDSLEY History, p. 100.)
"I was three weeks ago at Middletown, in Connecticut, the place of my nativity, which I have been used to visit annually while my father lived there, and have frequently preached among them and baptized many children and some adults."
There is very little doubt that he held the first services here, prior to 1730. These services, "held in private room, which served as a chapel for some time," were in the house of his nephew, Ichabod, which stood on the north side of Washington street, a little distance west of the residence of the late Professor Henry YARDLEY.
Here the interest was created which furnished the "one hundred sober-minded people," who met the Rev. Mr. PUNDERSON at his first service here, in the summer of 1739. Thus it would appear that the foundations laid by the Rev. James WETMORE were deep and broad, and that his influence was felt strongly among some brethren of his was proved by their earnest works.
At the organization of the parish in 1750, his brother* (*an ancestor of Rev. John BINNEY.) Caleb was one of the wardens, and continued in office, either as vestryman or warden, until 1784, a period of 34 years, at which time he was 78 years of age.
His brother Jeremiah died in 1753, but his two sons, Jeremiah and Ichabod, became early efficient in their father's room. Jeremiah, who continued to reside in the homestead on Washington street (now at the head of Broad), appears among the vestry from 1770 to 1786, only four years before his death, while Ichabod was warden in 1772, and continued in that position till 1800. Here were two, and some of the time three of the Rev. James's immediate kindred in office in the church he planted, many years.
In Dr. BEARDSLEY's history, we find that "towards the end of the year 1742, thirty families at Middletown, earnestly desire to be mentioned to the venerable society, in hopes of their future factors," and in September 1748, Dr. JOHNSON of Stratford, reports to the same society, "that Middletown and Wallingford are joining in order to form another mission in due time, and they are going on with their church at Middletown."
In 1749 he reports the raising of the church as near at hand. At this time the services here were conducted by a lay reader, Mr. Ichabod CAMP, a native of the adjoining village of Durham, and a graduate of Yale College, spoken of by Dr. JOHNSON, "as a sensible, studious and discreet person, and a candidate for Holy Orders." He embarked for England early in the spring of 1749, and having received Orders there, was appointed by the "Society for the Propagation of the Gospel," as its first missionary to this place, with the understanding that a portion of his services was to be given to Wallingford. ‡ (‡Dr. BEARDSLEY's History, pp. 166, 167.)
It will be observed by the report of Dr. Johnson, missionary in 1748 and 1749, that this little band had determined to build a church before their organization was effected, being urged to do so by their first teacher, the Rev. James WETMORE. For an account of their trials and discouragements in obtaining a location, we refer to the sermon of the late rector, the late Rev. F. J. GOODWIN, preached on the twenty-fifty anniversary of his rectorship.
"The request for a spot of land on which to erect their ark, pious and reasonable as it was, was yet, at once refused. Noting daunted, they applied again, for a piece of ground in quite a contrary direction, but with no better success. Great opposition was made, both by magistrates and people, to their building an Episcopal Church at all. Most men would have been discouraged by such repeated disappointments but not so with the Churchmen of that day. Quietly, and for the third time, they looked around the then village for another site, which perhaps might not be refused. They found one in Main street, known now as a portion of the South Green, which from its then marshy character was perhaps the most unfavorable in the place. In reference to the site here mentioned, we find the following vote in the Town Records: 'Voted, That the professors of the Church of England have liberty to erect their church on the highway between TAPPIN's corner, so called and John FOSTER's corner, and the dwelling house of Mr. Ephraim DOANE; and the selectmen, or any three of them, are hereby empowered to stake out the place for said building.'"
At that date, the connection between North and South Main streets was made by crossing, diagonally, the "South Green" (now so called), leaving an irregular triangular piece at the east end thereof. The location of the church was a little north of the head of Union street, having its entrance porch, with tower, at the west, and chancel at the east end; and so far eastwardly of the Green was it placed that when the roadway of the "Middlesex Turnpike" was made in this vicinity, the foundation walls were so much injured as to require action for the preservation of the building, and in fact necessitated its removal at an earlier date than would otherwise have been necessary. Here we again refer to Dr. GOODWIN's anniversary sermon: "Uninviting and unsuitable as this place would seem to have been for the purpose intended, there were two men, brothers by nature and brothers in their love and zeal for the Church, one of them a respectable farmer living at Middlefield, the other a merchant and landholder residing in the village, who were united in their opinion that the ground, by thorough drainage, might be rendered suitable for the erection of a church upon it. Accordingly they waited on the chief magistrate to purchase it. Most easily did he agree to the terms proposed, good-naturedly remarking that "no church built on such a place could ever grow and flourish." He had, however, men to deal with who were not to be deterred from their purpose by any other difficulties than those of the most serious character. Immediately measurers were carried into effect to render the ground suitable for the contemplated purpose. In due time the foundation was laid, and when the frame was completely raised there was given a shout so long and joyful, that one who lived at the time, often remarked, it could have been heard perhaps the distance of a mile. Thus at last was there erected the frame of a church to be designated by the name of Christ Church, fifty feet in length and thirty-six in width."
It was completed in 1755, but not consecrated till 1834. It was in this edifice, on the 2d day of August 1785, that our first bishop met his clergy after his return from his consecration in Scotland.
The records of this parish commence April 8th 1750:
"at that period there are the names of various persons, baptized by the then officiating clergyman, the Rev. Richard MANSFIELD, the Missionary at Derby, of the venerable Society for the Propagation of the Gospel. The first adult person recorded as having been received into the Church of Christ through the sacrament of Baptism, administered by him, as Jeremiah LEAMING, born of Congregational parents, at Durham-a graduate of Yale College in 1746,--afterwards a missionary of the venerable Propagation Society, and the first person ever chosen to the Episcopal office in this Country. At the time of his baptism, the 8th of April 1750, there are the names of five children recorded, to whom this same Sacrament was then administered. As the Festival of Easter in that year fell on the 15th of April, the service referred to was on the Sunday preceding in passion week. It would seem from this circumstance, as though this particular service must have been held, with reference to the organization of a Parish, on Easter Monday, by the election of wardens and vestrymen. If this were so, it would then appear that though the small but zealous band of Churchmen here, had at times been previously favored with religious services, there had still been no actual steps taken to organize a parish, till Easter Monday, the 16th of April 1750, and this, we are led to believe, was actually the case. Certain it is, as far as we are able to learn, that it was only from about this period there were enjoyed the regular services of the Church, either from a stated lay-reader, or otherwise."
On the "19th of July 1752, the Rev. Ichabod CAMP began to exercise his ministerial office, in Christ Church, in Middletown, according to the order of the church established," as recorded on the first page of the records.
We resume here the abstracts from Dr. GOODWIN's sermon before mentioned:
"I find the names of three persons recorded as receiving on this day the sacrament of baptism at his hands. Phillip MORTIMER and Caleb WETMORE are at this time Church Wardens. The ministry of Mr. CAMP, among this people and the Episcopalians at WALLINGFORD appears to have been limited to a period of about eight years, the last official act of which there is any notice being the administration of Holy Baptism on the 8th of June 1760. It will be seen that through the instrumentality of their first rector was carried on the work of erecting their first church edifice.
"The additions to the congregation, during his labors, ere highly encouraging. The average annual increase is stated to have been six families. From his residence in this place, he removed to Louisburg, Virginia. A few years afterwards was received the sad intelligence that he had come to an untimely end, through the hand of a son-in-law.
"The Rev. Mr. CAMP was succeeded by the then Mr. Abraham JARVIS, born in Norwalk and graduated at Yale College in 1761. In that same year he came to Middletown as lay-reader, and in that capacity resided here till the autumn of 1763, when he went to England for Holy Orders. At a meeting of the professors of the church of England, holden here the 21st of March 1763, we find the arrangement for the purpose referred to in the following vote: 'Voted, that a rate of three-pence on the pound, on the list of 1762, shall be forthwith collected and paid to the wardens, to be applied to defray the charges of Mr. Abraham JARVIS, in his going to England to take orders, and that Samuel ROCKWELL be appointed Collector to collect the same.' "Voted, also, that the wardens be empowered (whatever shall fall short of forty pound-sterling, to be advanced to Mr. JARVIS to defray his charges in going to England, being collected by said collector), to borrow the same of some person that will lend it.'
"Mr. JARVIS returned from England and commenced his ministry in July 1764. On the first day of August, a parish-meeting was held, when a committee was chosen to wait on the Rev. Mr. JARVIS, 'to acquaint him that, exclusive of the sum of twenty pounds sterling, what the Society of the Propagation of the Gospel in foreign parts, allowed to this mission, the Church has agreed to raise seventy pounds sterling for his support as minister of Christ Church in Middletown, he officiating as their minister; to which he returned an answer, that he accepted of said offer, when Samuel ROCKWELL was chosen collector, to collect what William STARR did not collect on his rate bill.' As the rates of the Parish were not sufficient to raise the sum specified, a subscription paper was circulated, which received the signatures of thirty-two heads of families. The sum thus raised amounted to fifty-eight pounds two shillings sterling. Philip MORTIMER, Richard ALSOP and Caleb WETMORE headed the list, and were the largest contributors.
"Previous to the Revolution it would seem that the Parish here-which included within the cure, Middlefield, Westfield, South Farms, Cromwell, and a portion of Durham, in all of which region were to be found those professing attachment to the Church of England-was in a prosperous condition."
Middlefield contributed her quota towards the parish expenses for some years, and from its close proximity to Durham, with the constant intercourse and intermarriages between the two places, it was undoubtedly from Middlefield, rather than the city direct, that the interest in the church was manifested in Durham. The records show baptisms, and therefore of necessity, services there on April 21st 1778, and again in 1809. In 1820 there were recorded seven baptisms at one time, in six different families, as occurring in that town. The Rev. Jeremiah LEAMING, D. D., the first choice for the first Episcopate in this country, was a native of Durham, born of Congregational parents, and might have been led to take an interest in the church, as his name stands at the head of the baptismal record in this parish. It will also be remembered as the birthplace of the first permanent rector. But here we resume the extracts from Rev. Dr. GOODWIN's sermon:
"January 4th 1779, there occurs upon the record the following register: 'The sentiments of the members present were collected in respect to the bell-that whereas the bell hanging in the steeple of the Church was owned in pat by the Presbyterian Society of town plat, and was used as a common bell for the town, is now broken and rendered useless, it is the unanimous opinion and resolution of the same, that it is mot convenient for the Church to have a bell that may hereafter be procured, their sole property;--therefore, voted, that the Church will have no further connection in a bell with the said society, and that a committee be chosen to treat with the Presbyterian committee concerning it.'
"Some years pass away and the Church is presented with a bell by one who would seem to have felt a very deep interest in the welfare of the Parish, as seen from the following portion of a letter addressed to the Rector and Wardens, dated New York 18th of October 1785. 'Sirs: I have the pleasure at last, to send you the bell for your Church so long ago ordered and expected. My correspondents say, many untoward delays occasioned the detention. I hope it will prove good and acceptable, and I remain, with my sincere wishes for the increase and harmony in your Church (Sirs) your most obedient servant.
"The bell referred to I here may state we use to this day.
"In reply to the letter addressed to him, acknowledging, in behalf of the Church their thanks for the present thus received, he writes, 'it is very agreeable, and I am pleased to add, I hear that it sounds well. I hop it may long ring and your Church flourish.'
"The ministry of the Rev. Mr. JARVIS, during which occurred the circumstances just referred to, with many other matters of interest and importance to the church, was one of long continuance, extending from 1764 to 1799, a period of thirty-five years. During this season of ministerial labor, Bishop SEABURY, the then only bishop in this country, administered in this parish the rite of Confirmation. It being the first and only opportunity for this purpose, to those who for many years had been earnestly desiring such a privilege, not a few of whom were already communicants, we are not surprised to find that no less than one hundred and twenty-seven persons availed themselves of the reception of this sacred ordinance. This occurred on the 17th of September 1786. On the 29th of July, the year following, there were five more confirmed. In the year 1797, the Rev. Abraham JARVIS was chosen Bishop, and two years afterwards he resigned the Parish, removing to Cheshire and thence to New Haven. On five occasions he administered the rite of Confirmation in this Parish-to two persons in 1803, to twenty-five the year following, to nine in 1805, of whom three were students of theology, not resident in the Parish, to fifty-four in July 1810, of whom twenty-seven had been already communicants, and to sixteen in June 1812. He departed this life in New Haven the 3d of May 1813, aged seventy-five years. For nearly ten years after the departure of Bishop JARVIS from this Parish, to March 8, 1809, when the Rev. Dr. KEWLEY commenced his ministry, it was irregularly supplied. Thus, the Rev. Calvin WHITE officiated nine months and twenty days, and from the abrupt manner in which he left the people of his charge, one cannot form the most favorable opinion in regard to the character of his ministry. We find it stated, 'he performed divine service in this Church, July 27th 1800, for the first time, and then quitted the Church and the town without giving any reason at all for his removal to any one of the parishioners of said Church. Amen.'
"The Rev. Joseph WARREN, who succeeded Mr. WHITE, officiated here for two years seven months and twelve days. Rev. Clement MERRIAM succeeded Mr. Warren the 2d of April 1804. His ministry was also of short duration, being but three years and two months. Mr. Lemuel BIRGE, a lay reader, was here a few days over six months, and during the remainder of the time the Church was closed or supplied occasionally from Sunday to Sunday by visiting clergymen. On the 3d of April 1809, at the annual Easter meeting, the Rev. John KEWLEY, a native of Liverpool, England, educated at Eton, was called to the Rectorship, and shortly afterwards instituted. At this same meeting we find it voted to erect a monument in the Church to the memory of Captain Stephen CLAY, deceased, who had proved a most liberal benefactor to the Church, with a suitable inscription, and which a Committee to be chosen may direct.
"In 1910, Dr. KEWLEY for the first time made a report of the condition of the PARISH; he had added twenty-one communicants, and the whole number was fifty. In 1812 a list of communicants records eighty-four. The number of baptisms during his ministry was eighty-nine, part of them were n other towns, but these numbers certainly show conclusively the very encouraging spiritual growth of the Parish under his pastoral care. Unfortunately for both parties his connection with the parish was dissolved by the Bishop with mutual consent on the 8th of March 1813, when he became Rector of St. George's Church in the city of New York. He was immediately and quietly succeeded by the Rev. Birdsey G. NOBLE, then in Deacon's orders, born in New Milford, and graduated at Yale College in 1810. On the 1st of June 1814, he reported to the convention eighty-five communicants and twelve baptisms. As we have no record of any of Mr. NOBLE's administrations, we depend on the summary information of the journals of the Diocesan Convention. Being in Deacon's orders, and therefore without authority to consecrate, he could not administer the communion; it accordingly occasions no surprise that the number of communicants was stationary. In 1815, he was in Priest's orders, and the communicants had then increased to ninety, and the baptisms were twenty-four. For the next ten or twelve years the parish would generally appear to have e3xhibited much of the growth and prosperity. There existed, however, toward the close of his ministry, a state of things far from desirable to any clergyman, upon the merits of which I am unable to speak, but which induced him on the 10th of September, 1828, to resign the Rectorship and accept a call to a parish at Elizabethtown, New Jersey. He was succeeded by the Rev. Smith PYNE, elected Rector, December 26th 1828, and entering on his duties the 23d of the following month. On the 16th of August, 1830, he resigned the rectorship. By the prudent conduct of Mr. PYNE, many of those who had been lost to the Communion, judging from the Convention Report, must have been brought back, for, on the first of June, 1831, their number, as stated by the Rev. Mr. JONES, who had succeeded him, was ninety, and to these three more were added before the month of August, when, from ill health, he was induced to accept a chaplaincy in the navy, and consequently to terminate his labors in this parish. His ministry, short as it was, was much appreciated, and to all, the zealous and faithful discharge of his pastoral duties gave entire satisfaction.
"The Rev. Mr. PYNE was again called to the Rectorship, resuming its duties in the autumn of 1831; he continued to perform them till August 1836. There were forty-one communicants added during his ministry, and the Church appears to have been united and prosperous. On the 3d of May 1831, a letter was read from the ladies belonging to the Assistance Society of the parish, pledging themselves to give one thousand dollars toward the erection of a new Church edifice, provided that, within three months, the gentlemen of the congregation made preparations for commencing the building. Thus were the first steps taken for the erection of this Church, in which we now are worshipping. At a meeting of the parish, on the 17th of the following September, it was voted to build, and take measurers at once for this purpose. An offer of a lot for the Church was kindly made by Mr. Samuel RUSSELL and the Rector of the parish. By a vote of the Parish, however, it was located upon its present site, while the wardens and vestry were authorized to pledge property for nine thousand dollars, that had been borrowed for the purpose of completing the Church edifice. The 15th of July 1836, the Rev. Mr. PYNE resigned the Rectorship, and his resignation was accepted the 17th of the following month. On the 12th of April, 1837, the Rev. Dr. S. F. JARVIS was invited to become the rector, which invitation he accepted. He found here, in commencing his ministry, eighty church families, not including single persons, and seventy-five communicants.
"The 20th of April, 1840, the Rev. John WILLIAMS, a native of Deerfield, Mass., and graduate of Trinity College, was invited to be Associate Rector, and at a later day was there proffered to him the Rectorship. He was afterwards called to the Rectorship of the Church in Schenectady, where officiated till, in 1849, he assumed the presidency of Trinity College, and, more recently, was elected, and, on the 25th of October, 1851, consecrated Assistant Bishop of this Diocese.
"On the resignation of Dr. JARVIS, he was succeeded by Mr. WILTBANK, whose ministry was only of about one years' continuance. The Rev. Mr. SHERMAN, since of New Jersey, officiated here for a brief period. The Rev. Horace HILLS was then invited to the Rectorship, entering upon his duties the 11th of February, 1844, and laboring faithfully till, resigning his position in June 1845, he was succeeded by the present incumbent, the 17th of August the same year; twenty-five years of my ministry thus terminating during the present week.
"Before making mention of any official acts of that ministry, there may here perhaps, more appropriately than elsewhere be a reference made to some few particulars, not as yet alluded to."
"There have been not a few clergymen who have been, and some of whom now are, most usefully employed in the vineyard of our Lord and Master, who were born within the limits of this parish, and one of whom has been a most zealous and successful Bishop. It may not be entirely devoid of interest that we make mention of the names of some of those thus originating in Middletown parish. Among these were the Reverend Doctors Jeremiah LEAMING, Samuel Farmar JARVIS, the Rt. Rev. J. P. K. HENSHAW, the Reverend Messrs. Enoch HUNTINGTON, Samuel JOHNSON, of Ohio, deceased, Alfred L. BAURY, deceased, Seth B. PADDOCK, deceased, Calvin WHITE, deceased, James WETMORE, deceased, the Rev. Doctors Henry and James DEKOVEN, deceased, Frederick SILL, deceased, Thomas H. SILL, and Thomas S. SAVAGE, deceased.
"We have alluded to the fact that the bell was the gift of one individual; a very good organ was the gift of his brother; the two having been received from Messrs. John and Richard ALSOP, both excellent men and sound churchmen. The original steeple of the old Church, which for many years had pointed its high and beautifully tapered spire towards heaven, was blown down in the terrible gale of September, 1821, and replaced by another of somewhat diminished height, but still one much admired. The bell sustained no injury by the gale, but now, as in former years, with its clear, distinct and sweet toned notes summons us to the services of the Church.
"The first marriage in Christ Church was that of Miss WETMORE of Middlefield, to Major William HIERLIKY, an Irish gentleman in the British service.
"The Church underwent from time to time various internal alterations and improvements as the congregation increased. It was never warmed by a fire in any way till 1809, when two stoves were put up, the Rector being very sensitive to the cold, from being advanced in years, and having lived in warm climates. I presume there are not living now any of the sons, even of those good and zealous men who put their left hand to the nail and their right hand to the workman's hammer, to build here the first temple to the worship and glory of God. A Mr. DARROW was one of those who assisted in the erection of the former Church. He lived and died in Middlefield, not far from forty years ago, at an unusually advanced age.
"During my ministry I have administered the sacrament of baptism in six hundred and fifty-three instances. Infants five hundred and eleven, and one hundred and forty-one adults. Three hundred and seventy-five persons have been confirmed. I have solemnized one hundred and sixty-one marriages, and in four hundred and fifty-five cases officiated in the burial service.
The contributions, not including the sums raised to sustain the institutions of religion among ourselves, have amounted to forty-four thousand eight hundred and ninety-four dollars and seventy cents. For the first eight years they were eight thousand seventy-nine dollars and seventy-two cents; for the second, fourteen thousand four hundred and twenty-seven dollars and nine cents, showing nearly a two-fold increase. The last nine years they have amounted to twenty-two thousand three hundred and sixty-five dollars and eighty-nine cents, being equal within less than one hundred and fifty dollars to the amount given the previous sixteen years; and if to this be added the sum subscribed for a new Church it increased the amount thirty-eight thousand dollars more. As not enumerated in the above contributions, I may mention here, a bequest made at the commencement of my ministry of somewhat more than hone thousand dollars by Miss Fanny ALSOP, to be applied toward the extinguishments of the Church debt. I am in duty and justice bound to refer you here, to a most noble bequest made in the year 1848, a devout communicant of the Church, Mrs. Martha Mortimer STARR, consisting of a Rectory, grounds and bank stock, which at their present value would amount perhaps to upwards of twenty thousand dollars.
"In this connection I may speak of some thirty-eight thousand dollars raised for the Berkeley Divinity School, mostly from members of the Parish, or those who were natives of the place. Of the above large amount, twenty thousand dollars were given by one known to the most of this congregation, and who is never weary in well doing.* (*Reference is here made to Edward S. HALL, Esq., born in Middletown, but now a resident of New York.) Ten thousand dollars were given by a clergyman. ‡ (‡The Rev. William JARVIS, late a resident of Hartford, since deceased.) then a resident of the Parish, and fifteen hundred dollars were raised by the Ladies Missionary Society of the Parish for a scholarship, which securely invested as it is, must result in great and permanent good in the important direction for which it was intended. The remaining amount was received in smaller sums and from various sources. I must not omit here to allude to another noble charity known as St. Luke's Home, for aged and destitute women, in which very great interest has been manifested, which is under the control of our Church, and is in very successful operation. The building occupied by them, with the lot on which it stands, has been paid for, an act of incorporation obtained, the corporators appointed, and a board of lady managers. There are not a few who have contributed to this most excellent charity, liberally and cheerfully. Of the amount raised, about four thousand two hundred dollars were given by different members of this congregation, and I am happy to say, as its advantages are open to all, that applications to others then church people were most favorably met.
Mr. Goodwin was a man that won the esteem of all classes of people, and was beloved by very many not connected with his parish. He departed this life February 29th 1872.
His place was at once supplied by his late assistant, the Rev. Walter MITCHELL, who had for his assistant the Rev. W. F. NICHOLS till the last nine months of his own rectorship, when his place was supplied by a lay reader and candidate for Holy Orders, Mr. C. H. PROCTOR of the Berkeley Divinity School. The Rev. Mr. MITCHELL resigned at Easter 1876, and reported to the convention that year two hundred families, thirty-five infant and two adult baptisms, but not the number of communicants.
The Rev. Samuel D. MCCONNELL became rector in August of that year, and in the spring of 1877 reported three hundred families with three hundred and seventy-five communicants, sixty infant and eleven adult baptisms and twenty-four confirmations. There was an assistant that year in each of the mission chapels. In 1878, Rev. A. B. CRAWFORD, a Berkeley student from the Diocese of New Hampshire (where he was ordained deacon), was appointed assistant to the Rev. Mr. MCCONNELL, who, having had a severe illness the previous winter, was in need of an assistant in Holy Orders. In the fall of that year, the medical advisers of Mr. MCCONNELL ordering entire rest, he spent three months at the South, when the care of the whole parish devolved upon Mr. CRAWFORD, who proved himself equal to the emergency. At the close the Berkeley school year in 1879, Mr. CRAWFORD was succeeded here by the Rev. George S. PINE, who filled the position with zeal and efficiency for the year, when his place was supplied by Rev. F. G. BURGESS. In 1881, the ancient rectory which was much strained by its removal to the west end of the lot on Broad street, was taken down and a new brick one erected at the cost of between six and seven thousand dollars.
The Rev. Mr. MCCONNELL and family had not occupied the new rectory three months when, having received a very urgent call to St. Stephens, Philadelphia, he finally and reluctantly accepted by the advice of Bishops WILLIAMS and STEVENS, and left here in January 1882. He reports to the convention of that year four hundred families, thirty-five infant and three adult baptisms, with four hundred and seventy-five communicants.
The Rev. A. Douglas MILLER was called to the rectorship, and began services here in February 1882, but had hardly been here a year when he received a call from California, which being in conformity with a long cherished desire, he accepted, but kindly consented to remain till after Easter, leaving here the 22d of April 1883.
The Rev. J. Lewis PARKS having received an unanimous call, commenced his rectorship in this parish June 10th 1883.
FIRST METHODIST EPISCOPAL CHURCH.
The only records of this church, if any were kept, have not been preserved. It would be interesting to not where the first meeting was held, and who were present, but there appears to be no one living at the present time who can give the information. As early as 1789, there were several communicants who held occasional services, and were supplied by the circuit preachers of the New London, Hartford, or New Haven districts. The first effort to organize a society here was in 1791, at which time Middletown was formed into a separate district, and two preachers were appointed to travel the circuit. It continued as a circuit until 1816, when Middletown became a station, or separate charge. The number of communicants in that year was 112. The establishment of the Wesleyan University, in 1830, added materially to the temporal as well as the spiritual growth of the church. In 1852, the number of the communicants was 430.
Rev. Jesse LEE was the first one who preached to an audience of Methodists in Middletown. This was in 1789. In 1790, Rev. Daniel SMITH was one of two preachers appointed to form and travel the circuit. In 1791, John ALLEN and Daniel SMITH were appointed; in 1792, Richard SWAIN and Aaron HUNT; in 1793, Joshua TAYLOR and Benjamin FRISBIE; in 1794; Menzer RAYNOR and Daniel OSTRANDER; in 1795, Evans ROGERS and Joel KETCHUM; in 1796, Joshua TAYLOR and Lawrence MCCOMBS; in 1797, Michael COATS and Peter HAYNE; in 1798, Augustus JOCELYN and Ebenezer STEVENS; in 1800, James COLEMAN and Roger SEARLES; in 1801, Elijah BATCHELOR and Luman ANDRUS; in 1802, Abner WOOD and James ANNIS; in 1803, Abner WOOD and Nathan EMORY; in 1804, Ebenezer WASHBURN and N. EMORY; in 1805, Luman ANDRUS and Zalmon LYON; in 1807, W. THATCHER, R. HARRIS, and O. SYKES; in 1808, James M. SMITH and Phineas RICE; in 1809, Noble W. THOMAS and Coles CARPENTER; in 1810, Oliver SYKES and Jonathan LYON; in 1811, Zalmon LYON and Jesse HUNT; in 1812, Aaron HUNT and Arnold SCHOFIELDS; in 1813, Elijah WOOLSEY and Arnold SCHOFIELDS; in 1814, William JEWETT and Jonathan LYON; the first preacher, after the charge became a station, was Rev. Thomas THORPE, in 1816; Marvin RICHARDSON, in 1817-18; William Jewett, 1819-20; Phineas COOK, 1821-22; Josiah BOWEN, 1823-24; Ebenezer WASHBURN, 1825-26; Heman BANGS, 1827-28; Thomas BURCH, 1829-30; Fitch READ, 1831-32; Bartholomew CREAH, 1833-4; John C. GREEN, 1835; Charles K. TRUE, 1836; Elisha ANDREWS, 1837-8; Francis HODGSON, 1839-40; Abaithar M. OSBORN, 1841-2; Edwin E. GRISWOLD, 1843-4; John L. GILDER, 1845; James FLOY, 1846-7; Zephaniah N. LEWIS, 1848; Moses L. SCUDDER, 1849-50; John M. REID, 1851-53; E. L. JANES, 1853-4; J. B. MERWIN, 1854-6; W. C. HOYT, 1856-8; Daniel CURRY, 1858-60; George W. WOODRUFF, 1860-2; George A. HUBBELL, 1852-4; John PEGG jr., 1864-7; Joseph H. KNOWLES, 1867-70; Charles B. SING, 1870-2; John S. BRECKINRIDGE, 1872-75; A. C. EGGLESTON, 1875-6; George L. WESTGATE, 1876-9; Robert CROOK, 1879-82; A. H. WYATT, 1882-4; William V. KELLEY, 1884.
The first regular church organization met in 1804 and elected the following board of trustees: Samuel FROTHINGHAM, Josiah STARR, Timothy POWERS, Jacob EGGLESTON, Maynard FRANKLIN, Peleg SIMMONS, Oliver PRIOR, Augustus JOCELYN, Joshua ARNOLD. To the enterprise and energy of these individuals the church was mainly indebted for its first house of worship, which was erected in 1805. The building was of brick, 42 by 32 feet, situated on the north side of what is now Union Park. In 1828 the membership had increased to 178, and the society had outgrown its accommodations. A new edifice of brick was then erected on the same site, 75 by 55 feet, with an audience room 63 by 52, at a cost of $7,500. The financial weakness of the society led to the creation of a heavy debt, by having the church built party on the stock plan, by which means the best seats became the property of individuals. Efforts were made in 1853, by Rev. E. L. JANES, the pastor, to liquidate the debt by subscriptions, and a sum of about $5,000 was raised. These efforts were continued, and other means adopted, by which the debt was transferred from the individual creditors to the saving bank, so that only three seats now remain as private property. In 1868 a subscription plan was started for the raising of $15,000, for the purpose of erecting a parsonage, purchasing an organ, and paying off the church debt. The amount was made payable in eight instalments, extending over a period of four years. Over $16,000 was pledged, and the several objects were accomplished. The present membership of the church, including the university students, is upwards of 600.
THE FIRST BAPTIST CHURCH IN MIDDLETOWN.
It would appear from the records of the Strict Congregational Church, now the South Congregational, that for some years, a few members entertained Baptist views, viz., baptism by immersion, and at a meeting of the church, Lord's day, August 9th 1795, the following vote was passed: "When any member of this Church shall renounce infant baptism, and embrace the Baptist principles and practice baptism by immersion, they shall be considered by that act as withdrawing their fellowship from this church, and we consider our covenant obligations with them as church members dissolved." Rev. Stephen PARSONS, who had been pastor of the church for seven years, announced one Sabbath morning that he had embraced the opinions of the Baptists, and was immediately dismissed. At this time, Mr. Parsons was living in a house that had been provided for him by the church. It had been arranged that if he continued to labor with the church ten years, it would then become his property. In three years more it would have passed into his hands. No consideration of policy led him to conceal his views for an hour. He, with a number of his brethren and sisters who withdrew about the same time, were soon after baptized, and on the 29th of October 1795, a meeting was held in the house of a Mr. DOOLITTLE, for the purpose of recognizing the church. Delegates from the Baptist churches in Meriden and Hartford were present, five males and six females, as follows: Stephen PARSONS, Sarah PARSONS, William MARK, Sabra PROUT, Joseph COE, Elizabeth COE, Michael BRADDOCK, Esther BARNES, Zacheus HIGBY, Thankful HUBBARD, Abigal HAMLIN.
Mr. PARSONS, though not formally chosen pastor, continued his labors with the new church until the following spring, May 1796. The next Sabbath after the recognition of the church, he baptized two converts, Mr. Daniel KELLY and Miss Olive ARNOLD. The former has the distinction of being the first clerk of the church.
On the first Sabbath in January 1796, the ordinance of the Lord's Supper was observed for the first time. For about six years after, the church had no regular pastor, but was dependent upon supplies. While a detail of their experiences in these years would be of great interest to Baptists of to-day, space will not permit their record.
Sometime in 1803, Nehemiah DODGE became pastor of the Church, and ministered to the church nearly two years. During his pastorate there were many additions to the church, many of them worthy of honorable mention if the limits of this article would allow.
During a greater part of the years 1805-6, the church was without a pastor, and the records we find Brother GRANT, and Brother E. GREEN served them, each of them preaching on alternate Sabbaths. Brother Enoch GREEN carried on the manufacture of cloth, working week days and preaching Sundays, as did many of God's ministers in those days.
In October 1806, Rev. Mr. NILES became pastor, but because of not receiving all the needed pecuniary support, was absent much of the time after the spring of 1807. In the meantime, the pulpit was supplied by various ministers.
In January 1808, Rev. Joshua BRADLEY, a graduate of Brown University, succeeded Mr. NILES as pastor, a man of great ability. He preached the first year half the time, Brothers GREEN and GRANT supplying the rest. The first two years of Mr. BRADLEY's ministry were eminently successful, the membership now numbering 95.
The first year of the existence of the church, it was not only without a pastor, but without a stated place of public worship, meeting at the residence of Mr. DOOLITTLE, the gristmill, swept out for the purpose, or the carriage factory on South Main street; and soon after Mr. BRADLEY came, the church voted to build a "Meeting House," which measured 53 by 38 feet.
In 1811, George PHIPPEN, also a graduate of Brown University, was chosen pastor, and continued in that relation to the church for five years. About this time the new "Meeting House" was completed.
Rev. J. F. BRIDGES, a native of Colchester, became pastor of the church, and continued in that relation until October 2d 1818.
Levi BALL, the seventh pastor, preached until the spring of 1823, when James A. BOSWELL was invited to preach at a salary of $400 per year. By reason of failing health he was compelled to resign after scarcely a year's service.
Rev. Daniel WILDMAN preached, and in the winter of 1825, assisted by Elder WILSON, meetings were held that resulted in conversions and additions to the church.
In May 1825, John R. DODGE, of Manchester, Vermont, became the pastor. He was popular as a preacher, and the church grew in numbers and in strength. He resigned, August 5th 1827, and his labors closed with the church November 8th 1837, and the church was without a pastor till the following February, 1838, when Rev. John COOKSON became pastor of the church. He tendered his resignation, May 5th 1839, to take effect in three months.
Rev. Thomas WILKES supplied the pulpit until May 1840, when Rev. D. C. HAYNES was called to the pastorate, and was installed in July 1840. Mr. HAYNES was a native of Marblehead, Mass. It was during Mr. HAYNE's pastorate that it was voted to build a new meeting house, and a committee was authorized to proceed with the erection of a house not to exceed, when completed, $3,000 over the subscription. None of the subscriptions were paid, and no money could be borrowed, and the scheme of building was given up for the present. During this year, 1841, the church numbered 242. Mr. HAYNES resigned in October 1841, and was succeeded by Rev. J. B. COOK. During the years 1841 and 1842, there was a revival in the church that added 65 to its members. The enterprise of building was entered upon with renewed zeal. Robert PADDOCK and wife gave $2,200 at the outset, and more than $5,000 before it was completed. A building committee was appointed, and the present church edifice, 56 by 76 feet, was built, at a cost of $12,500. Mr. COOK resigned April 23d 1843, and in the spring of 1846, with the assistance of Rev. Jabez SWAN, a series of revival meetings were conducted that added 40 or more members to the church. February 24th 1847, the pastor sent in his resignation, and until October 1848, the church was without a settled pastor. Rev. B. N. LEACH commenced his labors in the fall of 1848. Rev. Charles FERGUSON assisted the pastor in revival services, and as a result about 50 persons were added to the church.
Mr. LEACH was succeeded by Rev. Merriweather WINSTON, July 1851, and he preached until September 1852, and the church remained without a pastor until November 1853, when the Rev. Lester LEWIS was chosen pastor, and labored faithfully for and with the church until his death, February 7th 1858.
Rev. J. C. WIGHTMAN commenced his labors as pastor, November 21st 1858, resigned in the spring of 1859, but was immediately and unanimously recalled. November 2d 1862, J. C. WIGHTMAN tendered his resignation which was accepted, and April 11th 1863, a call was extended to J. H. SILBERT and he commenced his labors and ministered acceptably to the church until October 30th 1870. April 23d 1871, a call was tendered Rev. S. S. CHASE. The call was accepted but while on a visit to New Bedford, he was taken sick and died before he ever resumed the pastoral relation to the church. The church was without a pastor until November 10th 1872, when a call was extended to Rev. B. W. BARROWS of Nepouset, Mass. The call was accepted and he commenced his labors at once and continued to labor successfully until June 13th 1880, when he tendered his resignation, which was accepted. The church depended upon supplies until March 13th 1881, when a call was tendered Rev. C. A. PIDDOCK, of Springfield, Mass., the present pastor, which was accepted, and he commenced his work with the church immediately. The church now numbers 388 members.
FIRST UNIVERSALIST CHURCH.
The first movement of any kind toward the formation of Universalist society in the city of Middletown was by a circular dated November 10th 1829. Occasional services were held for a number of years previous to August 1838. At that time the State Convention was held in Middletown, and immediately after this meeting, viz., in September 1838, the society was organized.
Names of the persons who were signers and members of the society at its formation in 1838 or soon after: August COOK, William PLUMB 2d, Isaac BACON, Joseph COE, William S. CAMP, Samuel STEARNS, James T. STRATON, J. N. NELSON, S. S. ALLISON, Russell HOPKINS, Horace CLARK, James G. TURNER, Seabury BELDEN, James E. BIDWELL, Charles NORTON, Samuel BACON, Henry C. HARRIS, Benjamin CARTER, William DOUGLAS, Thomas TOLLES, Jason MILDRUM, Leveritt DIMOCK, Timothy SAVAGE, Luther BOWERS, Charles BREWER, Jefferson BACON, Stephen CRITTENTON, Asa HUBBARD, William HENDLEY, Edwin STEARNS, William M. WARD, Lewis ADAMS, Elijah CROWELL, Samuel CROWELL jr., Joseph BEVINS, Josiah PRATT, Henry SMITH, Spicer LEONARD, William CRANDALL, Joel B. GREEN, Josiah SCOVILL, Merrick NELSON, Horace CASWELL, J. PARMELEE, Joshua STOW, Alexander KEITH, Richard B. BAILEY, Reuben CHAFFEE, Stephen SHADDICK, Ezra COE, Asa RICHARDSON, Benjamin BUTLER, William STROUD, Origen UTLEY, George BACON, Talcott SMITH, Benjamin F. CHAFFEE, James C. BEEBE, A. R. PARSHLEY, T. MANNING jr., William F. PHILLIPS, A. C. ARNOLD, A. C. HARRIS, W. G. MACK, I. H. ARNOLD, William R. SMITH.
The successive pastors have been Lucius S. EVERETT, 1838 to 1841; Merritt SANFORD, 1841 to 1844; Townsend P. ABELL, 1844 to 1853; William H. WAGGONER, 1853 to 1856; Cyrus H. FAY, 1856 to 1858; one year no pastor; George W. QUIMBY, 1859 to 1862; James E. BRUCE, 1862 to 1865; part year no pastor; Eleazer S. FOSTER, 1866 to 1868; one year no pastor; Cyrus H. FAY 1869 to 1873; J. Hazard HARTSELL, 1873 to 1876; part year no pastor; Manly W. TABOR, 1877 to 1880; Frederick M. HOUGHTON, 1880 to 1883, part year no pastor; Harrison CLOSSEN, 1884, present pastor.
The present officers of the society are: W. K. BACON, Giles BISHOP, E. C. HALL; and J. E. BIDWELL, clerk and treasurer.
The first and only church edifice was built in 1839 at the expense of $12,000.
The first superintendent of the Sunday school was Origen UTLEY. The present superintendent is Wallace K. BACON, and Mrs. F. B. CHAFFEE is assistant superintendent.
AFRICAN METHODIST EPISCOPAL CHURCH.
The first meeting of this society was held in the house of George W. JEFFREY, under the direction of Rev. Mr. MARTIN, a Baptist minister, from New York. In 1828, Rev. James ANDERSON, a Methodist minister, from New Haven, organized the church, with the following persons as trustees: Asa JEFFREY, Joseph GILBERT, John HAMILTON, Ebenezer DEFOREST, and George W. JEFFREY. A piece of land, a short distance west of Wesleyan University was purchased of Henry PADDOCK, and a church edifice, 39 by 31 feet, was erected, and dedicated in May 1830. The following conditions were attached to the deed conveying the property:
"An that no mistake may arise with respect to the construction of this instrument, my intention is that the premises shall be held for the erection of a place of public worship for the use of the association of colored persons whether legal or voluntary, who are generally known by the name herein before specified, and that the premises shall in no case be used for any other purpose than that of erecting such a place of public worship, and other necessary buildings connected therewith or relating thereto."
The society did not succeed in paying the indebtedness incurred for the erection of the building until 1850. In 1867, by the removal of the edifice, an additional indebtedness of $900 was incurred which was gradually reduced, and in 1883 a bequest of $500 from Mr. Rachel PENNY left but a small amount remaining unpaid.
The society is at present under the jurisdiction of the New England conference of the African Methodist Episcopal Church, known as the "Zion Connection." The present membership is 30.
The Sunday school connected with the church is maintained principally by the students of Wesleyan University. The library contains 275 volumes.
ST. JOHN'S (R. C.) CHURCH.*
* BY D. J. DONAHOE.
This church, which was organized in 1843, stands at the north end of Main street, in the city of Middletown, and together with the land belonging to it, which is chiefly used as a cemetery, extends nearly the whole length of St. John's street.
Religious services were held in Middletown by persons of this denomination, at irregular intervals, for a period of several years before the church was organized. About 1835, quite a number of Catholic families settled in and around Middletown. At this time there was a large demand for laborers in the Portland quarries, and here most of the men found employment. About one-half of their number located in Portland, and the rest were scattered around the city of Middletown, and that portion of the town which is now Cromwell. Being of a devout disposition, they immediately began to provide for religious services. The nearest resident Catholic priest at that time was Rev. Father MCDERMOTT, of New Haven, and the county of Middlesex fell within his missionary labors. He was accordingly notified of the little congregation which ad been formed in Middletown, and in the summer of this year he visited the city, and celebrated the mass in a small house on East Court street, belonging to a gentleman by the name of TAYLOR. This was the first Catholic service ever held in Middlesex county.
The Rev. Father FITTON, who had recently succeeded Father MCDERMOTT at New Haven, visited Middletown once or twice in the fall of this year; but no settled arrangements had, as yet, been made to establish a regular mission in the place. In the spring of 1836, Rev. Peter WALSH, who had recently been stationed in Hartford, resolved to hold religious services at Middletown once a month. He visited the city one Saturday afternoon, but finding that the greater portion of the Catholics in this locality resided in Portland, he crossed the river and began to look about for a place in which to celebrate the mass. He was unable to secure a house, so engaged a barn from one Captain WORTHINGTON, on the main street. The next morning, when he reached the place in company with his little congregation, he found the barn doors bolted, and for some reason, which was never made very clear to him, the owner refused him the use of the premises for religious purposes. Expostulations were vain and so the priest with his followers had to turn away. Father WALSH was just about to celebrate the mass under a large tree on the wayside, when a gentleman by the name of Joseph MYRICK, who lived near Captain WORTHINGTON's residence, tendered the use of his swelling to the worshippers. The offer was gratefully accepted, and the mass was duly celebrated. Mr. MYRICK soon afterward joined the church, becoming the first convert in the county.
From this time till August 1837, services were held by Father WALSH at the house of Michael AHERN, just above Pecousett. In September of this year, the Rev. John BRADY, who succeeded Father WALSH in Hartford, began his missionary labors here, and continued for four years to hold services monthly at Mr. AHERN's residence. The congregation now began to increase rapidly, and soon outgrew their quarters. The people, too began to prosper materially, and felt themselves able to rent a house to be used solely for religious purposes. Accordingly, a small building, located in that part of Portland known as the San Bank, was secured of Thomas CONDON, one of the first Catholic settlers in the county. The place was fitted up in a neat manner, and was occupied till the completion of the brick church in Middletown.
It was not long before even this temporary chapel proved too small for the constantly growing congregation. In 1843, therefore, Father BRADY began to look about him for a site on which to erect a church edifice. At this time there were thirty men, most of them head of families, in the parish. He spent several weeks in search of a suitable lot, but was unable to find one. He resolved to locate the church in Middletown, as most of the members were by this time residents there. One Monday morning he was visited by Mr. Charles R. ALSOP, and surprised by an offer, at a very low figure, of the fine site where the church is now located. Father Brady accepted the terms at once and closed the bargain. A gift of $500 which was immediately made by a wealthy Catholic resident, Mrs. Richard ALSOP, sufficed to pay for the land; and arrangements were at once made for the erection of a fair sized brick structure. But the labor of raising the necessary funds for the prosecution of this work, small as it might seem in after years, was very great. Father BRADY visited many industrial centers for the purpose of making collections for the undertaking. The lively interest which the little congregation felt in the work greatly aided and encouraged him, and in a short time its success was assured.
In 1845 the number of male adults in the parish had grown from 30 to 100. They now felt themselves enabled to support a resident pastor. Accordingly, in this year, the Rev. John BRADY, a nephew of the Hartford clergyman who had hitherto officiated, having recently been ordained, was stationed in Middletown.
The church was soon built and fitted up, and upon its completion it was found to be almost entirely free from debt. A cemetery was laid out in the large lot in the rear of the church, and every man or family who had contributed $20 to the building fund was given in return a burial lot in the cemetery.
During the year intervening between 1845 and 1850, inclusive, hundreds of Catholic people settled in Middletown, Cromwell, and Portland, emigration from Ireland being very large in those years, and the demand for laborers in the Portland quarries having increased. The new church, therefore, was soon found too small for the increased attendance, and Father BRADY immediately set to himself the task of erecting a magnificent structure which would answer the demands of the congregation for many years. The proprietors of the Portland quarries, seeing the need that existed for a larger church, and admitting the devotion of the people as well as the determination of the clergyman, made a generous offer of all the stone which would be needed in the erection of the new edifice. Almost every dollar which went to defray the expenses of building this new church was collected from members of the congregation. A burial lot in the cemetery was given to every person or family contributing $20, and half a lot to those who gave $10. In a short time nearly all the lots in the cemetery were taken up, and the church was in a fair way of being successfully built. It was for many years the largest and by far the most beautiful church in the city. The building is of gothic architecture, and capable of comfortably seating an audience of one thousand persons.
In 1835, Father BRADY was succeeded by the Rev. Lawrence T. P. MANGAN, who remained in charge of the parish until November 1857. He was followed by the Rev. James LYNCH, a man of ability and enterprise. Father LYNCH remained in control of the affairs of the parish for a period of fifteen years, and during this time many extensive improvements and additions were made. In 1864, he had the tower completed, and had a large bell placed in the belfry. The whole interior of the church was overhauled, and a fine organ was placed in the loft. The church was frescoed in elegant style by William BORGETT of Middletown. The frescoing, which is a masterly and artistic piece of work, deserves especial mention. The ceiling is in panels of rich Gothic design, of a light blue ground, with the various emblems of the passion of the Saviour painted in bold relief. The sanctuary arch and pillar capitals, as well as the arch over the alter, are richly gilded. Above the alter are the four Evangelists painted in motto style. On the east side of the alter are fine paintings of St. Peter and St. Paul; on the west side the Virgin and child, and St. John. On the east wall are paintings of St. Patrick and St. Bridget; on the west wall, the Holy Family. In 1879, the alter was remodeled and handsomely decorated by the same artist.
The cemetery at the rear of the church, being already too small for the needs of the congregation, Father LYNCH purchased a large tract of land on Johnson street, from Michael H. GRIFFIN, and in 1864 had it laid out as a cemetery. The land lying on the south of this tract was purchased in 1883 by the Rev. Denis DESMOND, and laid out in an elegant manner for the same purpose, making a large and convenient graveyard, and one of the handsomest Catholic cemeteries in the State.
Almost from the first establishment of the church a parochial school was attached to it. It was opened in 1849, by Andrew A. CODY, a gentleman of a fine education, who had graduated the year previous from the classical college at Fermoy, in the county of cork, Ireland. Mr. Cody acted as principal of this school from the start until his death which occurred in 1866. He held several important offices of trust, and became also a clever lawyer, but his best efforts wee given to the school, which became, under his management, an important institution of learning. He was ably assisted during the greater part of the time by Isabella a. FAGAN and Helen G. FAGAN, two maiden sisters, the former of whom died in the same year in which the death of Mr. CODY occurred. From 1866 to 1872, the school was under the charge of the Board of Education, and became one of the public schools of the city. In May of the latter year, the parish resumed control of it, and it was taught by the Sisters of Mercy, a branch house of which order had been established in the parish on the 7th day of that month. A handsome convent building had been erected on the ground east of the parochial residence, and seven Sisters of Mercy had been invited by the Rt. Rev. Bishop MCFARLAND to locate in the city. They came from St. Xavier's convent in the parish of Ennis, county of Clare, Ireland. They have met with great success, and performed many useful labors since the founding of their house in Middletown. So successful, indeed, have they been that they have been able to open two branch houses, one in Bridgeport, which was opened in March 1879, and the second in Fairfield, which was started in August 1882. Besides conducting the free school in the old school room, to which use the brick church has been put, they have also, from the first, maintained in the convent building a select academy for young ladies only, which has always been largely attended. A thorough general English course is pursued, and instructions are given in French, Latin, and music, and the Sisters in both schools have gained a well-deserved reputation as able educators in the branches taught by them.
The Rev. Edward J. O'BRIEN assumed charge of the parish early in 1873, Father LYNCH having removed to Waterbury to fill the vacancy caused by the elevation of Father HENDRICKEN to the Episcopacy of the Providence Diocese. Father O'BRIEN was succeeded in 1876 by the Rev. F. P. O'KEEFFE, who also remained but a short time, being succeeded by the Rev. Denis DESMOND, of Portland, in October 1881.
Father DESMOND, who had recently erected a magnificent church and parochial residence in Portland, displayed his untiring energy by at once commencing great improvements on the church property in his new charge. A debt, which had been contracted in the erection of the convent house and the building of the church tower, still hung over the parish. The new pastor at once caused the old debt to be paid off. He then placed steam heaters in the church, convent, and parochial residence; new windows were set n the church, greatly adding to its beauty; the cemetery was enlarged and beautified, as before states; and many other extensive and very necessary improvements were made.
In conclusion there remains but to say that the Catholic population has increased so rapidly and steadily, that, since the establishment of the church, Portland and Cromwell have been set off as separate parishes, each being quite large, and the present population of the parish of Middletown numbers more than 4,200 souls. The people are remarkably devout, no less than 2,600 persons attending divine services each Sunday. The Sunday school, which is conducted by the Sisters of Mercy in the school room, is attended regularly by some 600 children. There are also a number of societies among the children and young ladies which tend materially to increase and promote the religious prosperity of the parish.
CHRIST CHURCH (EPISCOPAL).
The first movement in church work, in South Farms, was made by Mrs. Charlotte K. FULLER (wife of the Rev. Samuel FULLER, D, D., of the Berkeley Divinity School), who began a "Mothers Meeting" there in November 1868.
Early in the next year, the services of a lay reader were secured from the Berkeley Divinity School, and very soon a Sunday-school was established. Mrs. Robert T. THORNE united with Mrs. FULLER in opening a sewing school, which was prosperous. The first baptism was administered by Dr. FULLER, June 12th 1867, in a private house, where the first mission services were held. A vacant store was next prepared for a chapel, where Dr. FULLER first administered the communion to nine persons, on February 8th 1868. The parish was organized July 29th 1869, when the Rev. Robert T. THORNE was elected rector. A subscription had been raised for the erection of a chapel during that year, the mother church giving $867 collectively, and one individual thereof $5,000 in addition, placing it at once in an independent position. The building was consecrated July 29th 1869, by the bishop of the diocese. The Rev. R. T. THORNE resigned the rectorship, in 1877, and was succeeded by the Rev. G. Henry SMITH. In 1879, the Rev. John TOWNSEND, having come to Middletown to reside, took charge of the parish and still remains rector.
Reported to the convention of 1884: families, 44; communicants, 79; Sunday scholars, 80; with 9 teachers.
ALL SAINTS' CHAPEL.
A Sunday school was established by some of the ladies resident at Staddle Hill (which adjoins the city on its western boundary), early in 1870, in a private house there. The Rev. Walter MITCHELL, at that time assistant to the rector of Holy Trinity, began services in the North District school house, on the evening of Advent Sunday, 1870. A lot was procured and the corner stone of All Saints' Chapel was laid in November 1875. The opening service was held August 17th 1876, by the Rev. Walter MITCHELL, who had then become rector of the mother church. The chapel was consecrated on the 11th of January 1877, by Rt. Rev. John WILLIAMS, D. D. The services were continued here by the rectors of Holy Trinity and their assistants, the rector giving monthly, one Sunday service with the communion. Since there has been no assistant at the Parish Church, aid has been rendered by lay reading, and preaching by the Rev. Professors of the Berkeley Divinity School. There are now (1884) in this mission, 33 families, with 48 communicants, and 65 scholars in the Sunday school, not including the two Bible classes. The cost of the lot and chapel was $5,000.
As the southern portion of the city of Middletown has many German residents, lay reading was commenced there in that language about 1870. When the Rev. Walter MITCHELL became assistant to the parish church, he often preached to them in German, and so continued to do after he became rector, as also did the Rev. A. D. MILLER, who laboured faithfully among them. A Sunday school was established here in 1874 or 1875, which is still continued, having now (1884) fifty-five scholars, and eight teachers, with superintendent, and librarian for the library of 200 volumes. These services have been and are still conducted in a hired building prepared for the purpose. The past year this mission has received gifts of an alter, with suitable alter cloth, reading desk, and lectern.
This chapel is located at the corner of Butternut and Middlefield streets. The corner-stone was laid in the spring of 1878, and the building dedicated the following autumn. Previous to the erection of this chapel, a Sunday school was held in the school house of the Staddle Hill district; now there are Sunday school exercises in the chapel each Sabbath day, and preaching in the evening. H. H. PAINE is the superintendent of the school, and supplies the pulpit.
SOUTH FARMS METHODIST CHAPEL.
This chapel was built in 1879, by the Methodist Church of Middletown. The funds for its erection were principally given by persons living in the vicinity. The land was donated by Mr. Jesse G. BALDWIN, president of the board of trustees. The chapel is still under the control of the church. Regular services are held, and the attendance is about 100. There is a Sabbath school connected with the chapel having a membership of about 60.
WESTFIELD CONGREGATIONAL CHURCH*
*BY REV. JOHN ELDERKIN.
Westfield is a pleasant rural village located in the northern part of Middletown, about a mile from the Westfield Station, on the Berlin and Middletown Railroad. The inhabitants are a prosperous people, mostly engaged in agricultural pursuits. The first settler is generally conceded to have been one Edward HIGBY, who settled there about 1720, and whose residence was at the foot of a bluff called "HIGBY Mountain." Other early settlers were: Benjamin ATKINS, Benjamin, Nathaniel, John, and Joseph BACON, Joseph CORNWELL, Joseph DOOLITTLE, Samuel PLUMB, and Daniel ROBERTS, from the first society in this town; John WARNER, Israel, John, and Jeremiah WILCOX, from Cromwell; Joseph CLARKE, from New Haven; Nathaniel CHURCHILL, from Wethersfield; Edward and Josiah BOARDMAN, from Glastonbury; David and Richard DOWD, Asahel DUDLEY, and Joseph GRAVES, from Guilford. In 1815, there were 81 dwelling houses in Westfield and 93 families. Early in 1852 there were 1-4 dwellings and 120 families. There were 84 deaths in the society during the ten years prior to 1852. The yearly mortality was as follows: In 1842, seven deaths; in 1843, nine; in 1844, three; in 1845, eight; in 1846, eight; in 1847, nine; in 1848, four; in 1849, seventeen; in 1850, seven; and in 1851, fourteen.
In 1766, a number of persons living in Westfield, but belonging to the first and second ecclesiastical societies, sent a memorial to the General Assembly, praying to be organized into a separate society; the petition was granted, and thus arose the fourth ecclesiastical society in Middletown. The first three names on that memorial were Edward HIGBY, Nathaniel GILBERT, and Benjamin ATKINS. In 1773, this society built their first meeting house. It was 48 feet long and 30 feet wide. It stood where the present one stands. It was a plain structure, built in the style of those early times. There was no paint on the building at first, either inside nor out; and the only stoves used during winter were foot stoves.
On the 28th of December 1773, 21 persons from the first church and five from the second were organized into a church in Westfield by a council convened for that purpose.
At an adjourned session the next day, Rev. Thomas MINER, of Woodbury, a graduate of Yale College in 1769, was settled over the church and society, Rev. Noah BENEDICT preaching the sermon. Mr. MINER was a man of means, and dwelt in his own abode just west of the meeting house.
His salary was provided for on the plan of the sol salary charter, and the first transaction recorded of the society was in 1787, and was in regard to that matter. At this early date there was a choir. There were also four school districts, which were under the supervision of the ecclesiastical society as late as 1801.
Mr. MINER being in feeble health toward the end of his ministry, other preachers were employed to assist him. Among these appear the names of Austin, David BACON, the father of Dr. BACON of New Haven, Samuel GOODRICH, and Bela KELLOGG. In 1817, he released the society form further pecuniary obligations, but continued to be their sole pastor from that time till his death, which occurred April 28th 1826, and completed his entire pastoral of 52 years, 3 months, and 29 days. Mr. MINER was 88 years old when he died, and that was the number of persons admitted to the church by himself and others while he was sole pastor. He was buried in the cemetery bearing his honored name, by the said of many of his beloved people.
May 24th 1820, Rev. Stephen HAYES, of Newark, New Jersey, was installed college pastor, with the understanding that he should preach one-third of the time to the church in Middlefield, and the remaining two-thirds to the church in Westfield, both societies obligating themselves to pay a similar proportion of $500 a year as salary, and help in the same way toward procuring a dwelling place for his family. The difficulty which arose just before calling Mr. HAYES was in securing a parsonage. This difficulty was at length overcome by the purchase of the house now occupied for that purpose, then, a brown, one story building. As the tax law had been annulled by the new Constitution of the State, in 1818, the pews had to be sold to defray the expenses of the minister's salary; and as fears were entertained that enough would not thus be raised, the subject of a ministerial fund was agitated. In 1823, just 50 years after the organization of the church, eighteen hundred dollars had been subscribed for this purpose. One of the subscribers was Rev. Chauncey A. GOODRICH of New Haven, who at that time was preaching in the first society. A great loss was sustained to this fund when the Eagle Bank of New Haven, failed. During Mr. HAYES' pastorate, Dr. MINER, the son of Rev. Thomas MINER, made his will, bequeathing to the society a part of his estate; as he lived till 1841, not much was realized from this beneficent act.
Rev. Mr. HAYES was dismissed June 6th 1827. His pastorate continued a little over seven years, during which time 21 persons were admitted to the church.
It was nearly two years before the next pastor was installed. During the interval, the pulpit was supplied by various ministers, among whom were Rev.' Bela KELLOGG, Samuel GOODRICH, Joshua L. WILLIAMS, Edward R. TYLER, Royal ROBINS, and Stephen TOPLIFF. The last gentleman, who was a native of Willington and a graduate of Yale College in 1825, was installed May 27th 1829, Dr. BACON preaching the sermon. When Mr. TOPLIFF first came here, which was late in 1827, he found the church "very much scattered and run down, and but for the prayers of a circle of women that used to meet statedly for prayer, the church had well nigh broken up." Mr. TOPLIFF went among the people, praying earnestly from house to house, and it was not long before, "contrary to all expectation, the old questions, 'What must I do to be saved?' began to be agitated, and the whole aspect of the church was changed." Mr. TOPLIFF was wholly consecrated to his work, and during his stated supply and regular pastorate there were several revivals, and many were gathered into the church. Mr. TOPLIFF was dismissed September 25th 1838, having served this church as pastor nine years, three months, and three days, his entire ministry amounting to nearly, or quite, 11 years. He was afterward settled at Oxford. From there he moved to Cromwell, where he resided till his death. He never removed his membership from this church, and when he died his remains were brought here and laid to rest among the people of his early labors and love.
The fourth pastor was Rev. James H. FRANCIS, a native of Wethersfield, a graduate of Yale College, class of 1826, and of the theological department of that institution. Before he came here, he had been the pastor of the church in Dudley, Massachusetts, six years. He was installed in Westfield, December 2d 1840. In the autumn and winter of 1842, there prevailed quite an extensive revival, from the fruits of which a goodly number united with the church. Mr. FRANCIS was dismissed June 11th 1845, having been pastor for four and hone half years.
The fifth pastor was Rev. Lent S. HOUGH, a native of Wallingford. He received a classical education at Bangor, Maine, and studied theology both at Bangor and at New Haven. Before coming here, he has been pastor in Chaplin and North Woodstock, and stated supply in North Madison and in Bethel, Danbury. He began his labors in Westfield, in 1846, and after preaching about nine months was installed February 10th 1847. During his pastorate, in the year 1849, a new meeting house was built, at a cost of over $4,000. The old one had lasted three-fourths of a century. The new one was dedicated December 6th 1849.
During Mr. HOUGH's pastorate there was a general time of prosperity in the community. New school houses were built and new residences. Some improvements were made upon the parsonage and a conference house was secured. But the most blessed event of this pastorate was the revival of religion that took place in 1854. Mr. HOUGH was assisted by Rev. George CLARK, an evangelist, and the Holy Spirit was poured out in a most copious manner. What a joyful scene was that when on the 4th of June 1854, 57 persons came forward into the aisles of the new church, and crowded around its alter to express their faith in their newly found Saviour!
Mr. HOUGH was dismissed March 31st 1863, having been pastor sixteen years, one month, and twenty-one days, and having labored with this people nearly seventeen years in all. One hundred and forty persons were added to the church during his ministry.
After leaving here, Mr. HOUGH preached a short time in Salem. His last pastorate was East Lyme. From there he moved to Rainbow, where he died.
Rev. A. T. WATERMAN was the sixth pastor. After preaching some time to his people, he was installed November 9th 1864. He was dismissed June 1st 1869, having served as pastor four and a half years. Quite a number of persons were added to the church during Mr. WATERMAN's pastorate. At his dismission, the council paid him the following tribute: "We take pleasure in commending the retiring pastor to the fellowship of the churches of our Master as a faithful and efficient laborer, an acceptable preacher of the word, a pastor of ripe experience and ardent devotion to the Salvation of Souls."
Mr. WATERMAN, after leaving here, preached a while in Kensington, and then at the West.
Rev. Edward T. HOOKER was the seventh pastor. Mr. HOOKER is the son of Rev. Dr. HOOKER, who was professor at East Windsor, and afterward pastor at South Windsor. He was born in Bennington, Vt. He received his academical education at Phillips' Academy, Andover, and at Williams College. He studied theology at Chicago, and was ordained and installed at Broad Brook, June 17th 1868. He began his acting pastorate in Westfield, July 1st 1869, and closed it October 1st 1872, having labored here three years and three months. Several persons united with the church during Mr. HOOKER's pastorate. Mr. HOOKER went from here to the First Congregation Church in New Orleans. Many ties bind him to Westfield, and among them is that of a dear little child that fell asleep while his father was pastor here.
The ministers who have officiated since Mr. HOOKER have been: Revs. John ELDERKIN, J. Webster TUCK, and Edwin C. HOLMAN. The deacons of church have been: Nathaniel BOARDMAN and Amos CHURCHILL, chosen about 1779; Samuel GALPIN, about 1794; Jedediah WILCOX, April 30th 1830; Selah GALPIN, April 14th 1843; Asa BOARDMAN, April 30th 1858; Elisha B. WILCOX, November 22d 1861; Pardon K. FAY and Benjamin WILCOX, October 30th 1868; Albert BACON, January 12th 1873; and George BOARDMAN.
The Sabbath school was started many years ago in a dwelling house just east of the church. It has been well supported, and still holds on its way.
During the first hundred years of this church 439 persons were members. Taking into consideration this hopeful fact, together with all the good work done in this neighborhood by this church, who can measure the results? Certainly, to God this community is greatly indebted for the works of love and salvation here wrought out by the church of Christ planted here so long ago.
The membership, January 1st 1884, was 104; 39 males and 65 females.
WESTFIELD BAPTIST CHURCH.
In 1804, the Strict Congregationalists of Westfield declared themselves Baptists, and were organized into a church which then numbered 12 members. Their pastor was Elder Josiah GRAVES. After his decease preachers labored among them by the names of HIGBY, JUDD, GOODWIN, WAKEMAN, BALLARD, and BATY. In 1812, they built a meeting house in the western part of Westfield, 36 by 26 feet, and this building, in 1840, was moved near the location of the Miner Cemetery and repaired. The building stood on the land of one GOODWIN, who was for a time a preacher of the Baptist denomination, but who subsequently became a Universalist. Afterward the church building was again removed and made a part of the japanning factory, where it remained until the fire of 1874, by which it was destroyed.
WESTFIELD METHODIST CHAPEL.
This chapel was built in 1881, and dedicated November 13th of that year. The society to which the chapel belongs is a branch of the Methodist church at Middletown, and was the result of a very successful revival season, when meetings were held at private houses in Westfield.
The members of the denomination in Westfield were organized into a distinct class, with David CHURCH as their leader. They are supplied every Sabbath with a preacher from the Wesleyan University.
The building is a neat unostentatious structure, 40 feet in length, and 26 feet in width.
The original members were: David CHURCH, Lucy Ann CHURCH, Lewis DOOLITTLE, and Mrs. Lewis DOOLITTLE. The class at present numbers 21 members.
A Sunday school was organized soon after the building of the chapel. David CHURCH was the first superintendent, and still officiates in that capacity.
The Sabbath-school has a membership of about 25 pupils.
UNION CHAPEL, LONG HILL.
This building is situated in East Long Hill District. The building lot was a gift from Abijah ROBERTS. The deed bears date November 2d 1876. The chapel is used for Sunday school services, and for occasional religious services, by visiting ministers of different denominations.
The officers are: Giles D. HOLMES, president; Edwin J. ROBERTS, secretary and treasurer; John W. TUTTLE, superintendent of Sunday school; E. J. ROBERTS, assistant superintendent; Benjamin DOUGLAS, George W. ATKINS, Charles R. NEWELL, Giles D. HOLMES, Hiram CROWELL, Horace A. WILCOX, Frank C. HUBBARD, Ephraim TUTTLE, and Edwin J. ROBERTS, trustees.
THE OLD CEMETERY.
The old cemetery, near the depot, at the junction of the Air Line and Hartford & Connecticut Valley Railroads, is one of the oldest in the county. It is familiarly known as the "Old Cemetery," and called by some the "Riverside Cemetery." It was laid out about 1650 and continued to be the only place of burial up to 1713. Tradition tells us that prior to this time the early settlers on both sides of the river were wont to bury their dead in this graveyard, but that in winter of 1712-13 a funeral cortege bearing the body of a child came to the banks of the Connecticut and, finding it impassible, sadly retraced their steps and opened a grave on the east side, in the locality of the present quarries.
There have been some interments in this yard within the last twenty years. In May 1848, by a vote of the town, the title to this property was vested in the "North Burial Ground Association," where it has since remained.
The following inscriptions are from this ancient cemetery:
"Here's a cedar tall, gently wafted o'er
From Great Britain's Isle to this western shore,
Near fifty years crossing the ocean wide,
Yet's anchored in the grave from storm or tide.
Yet remember the body only here,
His blessed so fixt in a higher sphere
"Here lies the body of Giles HAMLIN, 'squir, Aged 67 years, who departed this life the first day of September, Anno Dom, 1689."
"N. W. CVTLER AGE IN THE 100 YER DIED IVNE THE 5, 1706"
"Here lies interred the body of Mary, the virtuous consort of Jabez HAMLIN, Esq., and daughter of ye Hon'ble Christopher CHRISTOPHERS, Esq., of New London, who fell asleep April ye 3d, A. D. 1736, in ye 22d year of her age.
"So fair, so young, so innocent, so sweet,
So ripe a judgment, and so rare a wit.
Require at least an Age in one to meet;
In her they met, but long they could not stay.
'Twas gold to fine to mix without allay."
"In memory of Mr. Nathll GOODWIN who was born in Boston Febey ye 24th 1672-3 departed this life March ye 7th N. S. 1753 upon his birthday in Middletown being just 80 years old."
"Here is interred the mortal remains of Dr. John OSBORN. Ask nothing further, traveler; nothing better can be said, nor nothing shorter. Ob. 31st May, 1753, Æ40.-Life how short, Eternity how long."
It is said that a very pompous inscription was originally placed upon the monument, from which these words were taken, but that the son of Dr. OSBORN, when he became of age, caused it all to be erased, and substituted the above.
Dr. OSBORN was an eminent physician, and a poet of some note. He was the author of the "Whaling Song," the first verse of which is-
"When spring returns with western gales,
And gentle breezes sweep
The ruffling seas, we spread our sails
To plough the wat'ry deep."
"In memory of Mrs. DESIRE, late wife of Mr. Abner ELY, died Sep. 1st, 1764, aged 48 years."
"A loving wife, and tender mother,
Left this base world to enjoy the other."
"Sacred to the memory of Mrs. Lucy Ann, wife of Com Thomas MACDONOUGH, and daughter of Nathaniel, and Lucy Ann SHALER. The richest gifts of Nature and Grace adorned her mind and heart; and at her death, Genius, Friendship and Piety mourned their common loss. She preceded her husband to the realms of glory only a few short months, having departed this life Aug. 9th 1825, Æ. 35. They were lovely and pleasant in their lives, and in their death they are not divided."
"To commemorate the piety and virtues of Mrs. Louisa, wife of Lieut. Horace SAWYER, U. S. Navy, daughter of Nathaniel and Lucy Ann SHALER, who departed this life on Monday, 15th Dec. 1828, aged 24. This stone is erected by her husband.
"Thou art gone to the grave, but we will not deplore thee
Since God was thy refuge, they ransom, they guide;
He gave thee, he took thee, and he will restore thee,
And Death has no sting since the Savior has died."
OLD CEMETERY IN MAROMAS.
There is an old cemetery in Maromas District, near the Connecticut River, below the Maromas Station on the Hartford and Connecticut Valley Railroad. This yard contains but a few graves; and it was used only a short time for burial purposes. The oldest date recorded in the cemetery is that of 1708; and the latest interment designated by a tomb-stone was made in 1754. The time of layout is unknown.
OLD SOUTH FARMS CEMETERY.
This cemetery, which if familiarly known as the "South Farms Burying Ground," was set apart for burial purposes by a vote of the town passed December 16th 1723.
It is located in the Farm Hill District, and lies contiguous to the "Farm Hill Cemetery." The first interment in this yard was that of the body of John ANDREWS who died in 1724.
From that date until about 1850 this was one of the principal burial places, as is proved by the great number of tombstones which mark the many graves of those,
"Whose name and age spelled by the unlettered muse,
The place of pomp and eulogy supply."
It is still used for burial purposes. Epitaphs:
"My Sun Is Set My Glass I Run
My Candle's Out My Work Is Done."
"In youth she lived betimes the best of lives,
For nine years and four months the best of wives."
The present officers are: Henry C. JOHNSON, treasurer; Abner ROBERTS, secretary; Samuel HARRIS, Elijah TRYON, Langdon JOHNSON, trustees.
WASHINGTON STREET CEMETERY.
This cemetery is located in the city of Middletown, corner of Washington and Vine streets, and was laid out by a committee appointed by the town in December 1739. About 1830 it was enlarged by an inclosure of a portion of the street on the north side.
At present it is in an extremely dilapidated condition. It seems strange that while few if any cemeteries in the State evince more scrupulous care than Indian Hill, this old necropolis where, "the rude forefathers of the hamlet sleep," is a sadly neglected spot. Many of the tombstones are so buried beneath weeds and poisonous undergrowth that it is almost impossible to read the inscriptions thereon.
The following are a few of the obituary records in this grave-yard.
'Sacred to the Memory of the Rev'd Walter CRANSTON, late Rector of Christ Church, Savannah, Geo; who departed this life, the 25 of July 1822, in the 33 year of his age.
"He was born at Newport, Rhode Island, the 12 of Dec. 1790, & educated at Harvard University. Distinguished for his benevolence, his learning & his piety, he died, as he had lived, respected and beloved.
"Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord."
"In Memory of Mr. David DOUD, Who after He Served His Generation, He Gave his Friends A Good Exortation & Died In Hope of Eternal Salvation, August 17th 1775 in ye 28 Year of His Age."
"Here lies the Body of Mr. William BARTLIT who Departed this life October ye 10th int 1741 Aged about in 70 Years. The first Interr'd In This Yard."
This grave is near the center of the cemetery, on the left hand side of the aisle passing southward, about five rods north of the old fashioned monument which marks the resting place of Capt. Daniel CLARK.
"Stop fellow mortal as you pass this way!
Read and contemplate on your final doom
I once like you was animated clay
And you like me must slumber in the tomb."
"Reader think on these things
Life how short. Death how sudden. Eternity how long.
Some hearty friend shall drop a tear On our dry bones and say
These once were strong as mine appear
And mine must be as they."
THE NEW MAROMAS CEMETERY.
The Maromas Cemetery, now in use, was laid out by a vote of the town in January 1766.
CEMETERY IN NORTH DISTRICT, NO. 2.
The old cemetery in the southwestern part of the North District No. 2. is a public yard; but the time of lay out is unknown. The oldest inscription is that one the tombstone of Edward BOARDMAN, bearing the date, 1772.
THE MORTIMER CEMETERY.
The old part of this cemetery was given to the inhabitants of the First Society by two conveyances, the earlier dated June 6th 1778, and the later October 6th 1781, and granting, respectively, one acre, and one hundred and thirty rods. This tract of land ran westerly from the MORTIMER tomb thirty-four rods. In 1830, an addition was made to the burial field by Martha Mortimer STARR; and in 1849, it was still further enlarged by William S. CAMP. The western portion of the cemetery ahs been cut off and discontinued by the lay out of North Pearl street.
CEMETERY IN SOUTH DISTRICT, NO. 4.
In April 1793, Samuel PLUM gave to the inhabitants of Westfield Parish a tract of land for burial purposes. Some bodies were interred in this years; but it was abandoned about 1835-30 because of the watery nature of the soil. The ground is located in the northeastern part of the South District, No. 4.
THE OLD WESTFIELD STREET CEMETERY.
This cemetery is located in the first district, near the village of Westfield. There is now seldom if ever an interment in the yard, and it is in a very dilapidated condition. Some of the graves have been opened and the bodies formerly interred therein transferred to other cemeteries. There but are two monuments in this ancient yard. One of these was were erected to the "Memory of Giles WILCOX who died Oct. 23, 1838 Æ. 89;" also his wife Rachel, "who died Sept. 4, 1828 Æ. 74."
The other marks the resting place of William F. BOARDMAN, who died June 17th 1847, aged 34, and Lucy Ann his wife, who died October 21st 1843, aged 29.
Both of these monuments bear the scriptural quotation:
"Be ye also ready for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of Man cometh."
Indeed, one might well call this the cemetery of epitaphs, for they are to be found on every hand.
Deacon Joseph GRAVES was buried in this place. He died February 24th 1855, age 76.
His epitaph is:
"If an hones man is the noblest work of God
Then His noblest work now lies beneath this sod."
The tomb of Elder Josiah GRAVES is in this cemetery, and the inscription on the unostentatious stone that marks his sepulcher is as follows:
"In Memory of Elder Josiah GRAVES, Pastor and founder of the first Free Will Baptist Church in the State of Connecticut, who died July 24, 1825 Æt. 50.
"I have fought a good fight
I have finished my course
I have kept the faith."
Miss Loly H. GRAVES, "an amiable and accomplished young" lady, died in 1825, aged 19. She is buried near Elder GRAVES, and beside her tomb is that of Amos TYRON, her intended, whose decease occurred the same year.
In the rear of this old cemetery, near a somber pine, is the small grave-stone on which are inscribed the following words:
"Sacred to the memory of Polly, wife of Capt. Daniel BACON, of Unadilla, N. Y. who died Sept. 28, 1826, AE. 45.
"From Unadilla she did come
To help her feeble body some
Her soul departed to its flight
To dwell in everlasting light."
This burial ground was granted by Calvin and Joseph CORNWELL 2d, to the Westfield School Society in November 1820.
THE MINER CEMETERY.
The Miner Cemetery is located on a slightly eminence a few rods west of the Methodist chapel. Rows of fine trees, with their evergreen foliage, bound the cemetery on every side, and contribute much to its picturesque beauty. The land was originally given to the Congregational Society of Westfield, by Thomas MINER, but in 1860 it was conveyed to the Miner Cemetery Association, which was formed in 1859.
There are in this cemetery 10 monuments, bearing the following names: KENYON, CORNWELL, SMITH, NORTON, TOPLIFF, BACON, HOLLISTER and BOWERS, SAWYER, GALPIN, ROOT, COE and PLUMB, BAILEY, GRAVES, SLOPER, MINER, DOOLITTLE, ADDIS, BOARDMAN, and WILLIAMS.
The Kenyon monument bears the following inscription:
"Eugene W. KENYON, Co. B, 14 Reg. C. V. Died at Washington, Dec. 31, 1862, Æ 20."
The SMITH lot is ornamented with an elegant marble monument, near which is a substantial slab of sandstone that marks the grave of John SMITH, the originator of the japanning business in this country. He died November 20th 1859, aged 68.
The TOPLIFF monument marks the grave of Rev. S. TOPLIFF, third pastor of the Westfield Congregational Church. Born November 9th 1796; died August 7th 1875.
The BACON monument is inscribed on one side as follows:
"Ebenezer BACON, Born Oct. 2, 1789, Died Dec. 20, 1881. Lavinnia, His wife, was murdered Sep. 24, 1843, Æ 47. Clarissa, His 2nd wife, Died Mar. 20, 1865. Æ. 76."
The MINER monument is made of freestone, and bears the following inscriptions:
"Thomas MINER M. D., Donator of Property to the Fourth ECC. Society, Died Apr. 23, 1841, Æ. 63."
"Rev. Thomas MINER, First Pastor of the Cong. Ch. In Westfield, died Apr. 28, 1826, Æ. 88."
"Dolly MINER, Relict of Rev. Thomas MINER, died June 5, 1828, Æ. 88."
"Gilbert MINER, Died June 17, 1821, Æ. 39."
On the DOOLITTLE Monument is the following:
"John K. of Co. K, 8 Reg. C. V. Died of wounds received at the Battle of Antietam, Oct. 10, 1862, Æ 22."
There are in the western part of the cemetery two graves marked by ancient tombstones, bearing respectively the following inscriptions:
"In Memory of Mr. Samuel PLUM who died July 15th A. D. 1794 Aged 84.
"The grave is now my home
but soon I hope to rise
Mortals behold my tomb
Keep Death before your eyes."
"In Memory of Patience PLUM wife of Samuel PLUM who died Jan'ry 10th A. D. 1793 in the 81st Year of her Age.
"Come now and see as you pass by
As you are now so once was I
As I am now so you must be
Prepare for Death and follow me."
These bodies were evidently brought from some other graveyard, for the first interment in the Miner Cemetery was that of Mr. John SMITH, which occurred in 1859.
The cemetery was enlarged in 1876.
CEMETERY IN WEST DISTRICT, NUMBER 3.
This lot was given in 1831, by Joseph WILCOX to Hosea GOODRICH and others to be used for burial purposes. Interments are at present made therein.
INDIAN HILL CEMETERY.
The Indian Hill Cemetery Association was organized June 11th 1850, under a general act of the Legislature passed in 1841. The capital stock was $5,000. About 40 acres, on what is known as Indian Hill, were purchased by the company. The first officers were: Samuel RUSSELL, president; Samuel D. HUBBARD, vice-president; Thomas J. BROWER, Secretary; Joseph TAYLOR, treasurer. The directors were: Ebenezer JACKSON, Austin BALDWIN, Charles R. ALSOP, Jesse G. BALDWIN, Thomas ADDISON, Clark ELLIOTT, Stephen BROOKS. The corner stone was laid July 23d 1850, by Dr. Horatio STONE. The cemetery was formally dedicated September 30th 1850. The grounds were beautifully laid out, and several expensive and elegant monuments now adorn the cemetery. The present officers are: Jesse G. BALDWIN, president; Joseph W. ALSOP, M. D., vice-president; Stephen B. DAVIS, secretary and treasurer. The directors are: Jesse G. BALDWIN, Aaron G. PEASE, E. F. SHELDON, Charles E. JACKSON, O. Vincent COFFIN, George W. HARRIS, Samuel T. CAMP, and Arthur B. CALEF. A beautiful memorial chapel stands near the main entrance. This chapel was erected in 1867, by Mrs. Samuel RUSSELL in memory of her deceased husband, and is used for burial services.
FARM HILL CEMETERY.
The Farm Hill Cemetery Association was formed in 1853, under the general act relating to burying grounds and places of sepulture. The corporators were: Asa HUBBARD, Isaac ROBERTS, Alfred HUBBARD, Elisha S. HUBBARD, Samuel C. HUBBARD.
Asa HUBBARD was the first president, and Alfred HUBBARD the first secretary.
The first interment in this cemetery was that of Joseph Warren JOHNSON who died September 30th 1853.
The yard is located on a beautiful eminence in the Farm Hill District, and lied adjacent to the South Farms Burying Ground.
Asa HUBBARD was the first president of the association.
PINE GROVE CEMETERY ASSOCIATION.
This corporation was organized under the law of Connecticut relevant to burial grounds in 1870.
The corporators were: Gaston T. HUBBARD, Wilbur F. BURROWS, Alfred HUBBARD, Robert P. HUBBARD, and Buckley N. HEDGES.
The cemetery is located in the East Long Hill District.